The reality behind what on the surface is ‘simply’ a reduction in the role of pathology services at Narrabri is a worrying one for the community.

The reality is that there will be a ‘ripple effect’ as the mayor explained – medical professionals and specialists choose to come to centres like Narrabri because of the professional support available.

And the range of services which can be delivered if we have a diminished pathology capability is significant, the mayor adds.

“This is an absolutely critical matter,” Cr Tiemens said. “It can be a life and death issue.”

He was critical of the lack of transparency around the pathology rationalisation process. “Decisions were made behind closed doors. No one has been told anything about this decision.”

Cr Tiemens has sought a face to face meeting with the Minister for Health this week and is waiting to hear of his appointment.

He earlier raised the issue of Narrabri’s suitability to be the pathology laboratory site, in the context of a rumoured re-location to Moree.

“The fact is our pathology presentations at Narrabri are virtually on par with Moree’s. Why is Narrabri not the preferred site?”

Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey, having experienced similar issues at Gunnedah, advised the meeting ‘you are going to have to fight.’

“There is just a blood collection service in Gunnedah now,” he said.

“We didn’t have enough notice to act – you are doing the right thing.”

There were so many other country centres at similar risk, he added.

Chamber of Commerce president Russell Stewart cited the recent six month visit to Narrabri by two final year medical students.

“The chamber asked them what would be an important inducement for them to pursue their careers in a country town and they replied a key element would be access to the full spectrum of facilities – such as we have now in pathology.”

Mr Stewart said the Chamber was also keen to have stroke diagnostic capabilities, dialysis, oncology and a first class mental health capability at Narrabri.

“We need these capabilities to grow.”

A compelling and worrying prognosis was presented by Narrabri registered nurse and midwife Liz Murphy who explained the serious implications for patients across a range of conditions if pathology results were delayed.

She re-iterated the point made by others : “Moree and Narrabri are virtually equal in pathology presentations. It doesn’t make sense to take the pathology service to Moree.”

There could be delays on occasions when the time around pathology diagnosis was critically important.

“If Narrabri is to continue to grow and flourish we must not lose our core services.”

Liz gave a comprehensive address which The Courier will publish in a future edition.

To order photos from this page click here