There is a proposal for another pathology provider to replace the existing service at the Narrabri Hospital – Sydpath laboratory.

The impending changes will impact the wider community of Narrabri and district, with patients travelling from out west and other areas for procedures and appointments.

If this impending proposal goes ahead, there will be diminished services within the pathology lab and staff cutbacks. The repercussions are immense.

The proposal to cut after-hours services will have a carry-on effect with doctors unable to utilise diagnostic services to its full potential.

Reduced number of units for transfusion available on site, which will impact the theatre, maternity and oncology services.

Other reduced services are coagulation studies, eg in the case of snake bite, patients will be transferred out.

Maternity patients will not be able to birth in Narrabri because of reduced services and a possibility of a non-functioning theatre.

Narrabri sits halfway between two major cities. With a busy highway, a fully functioning pathology lab and hospital is imperative and certainly can be a matter of life and death in some situations.

The proposal will have a very negative effect on the service which is already provided.

Narrabri Hospital services a surrounding district of 12,700 and with diminished patient support comes diminished doctor resources.

So, with no theatre or maternity services, our doctors may relocate and the opportunity for new doctors will not exist.

In a government bulletin, it states (people living in rural regional and remote parts of NSW will have better access to high-quality healthcare as part of the 2023-24 NSW budget).

How can the proposal of taking away services, that have been provided in our community for many years be an improvement to rural healthcare?

Thirty years ago, the town of Narrabri had two anaesthetists and three surgeons residing in the town plus two obstetricians. So there has been a downward trend.

At present, we have one obstetrician and a locum anaesthetist and two surgeons.

If patients need specialist care at the moment, which cannot be accommodated at Narrabri Hospital, they are transferred to Tamworth and beyond.

Often these hospitals cannot accept these patients because of lack of beds.

If this proposal happens, it will put even more pressure on surrounding hospitals.

This is a retrograde step, not progress.

If you think this proposal will affect you or your family, now is the time to voice your concerns to our local member and the shire mayor.

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