THE largest hospital in East Gippsland is without a permanent doctor, after a string of resignations and calls for the CEO to be sacked.
The director of medical services, two full-time doctors and the emergency nurse unit manager of Bairnsdale Regional Health Service have all handed in their resignations in the past 10 days.
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It leaves leaving the popular tourist region with only graduate doctors and already busy general practitioners working on call to staff the hospital.
It also puts in doubt the hospital’s Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria accreditation, which allows them to take on junior doctors under the Box Hill hospital graduate program.
The resignations come after a period of staff discontent under the hospital’s chief executive Wayne Sullivan.
This included a full turn-over of senior administration staff in the past 18 months and a court dispute with nurses over emergency department ratios.
Long serving GP in the region Tim Watford, who now refuses to work at the Bairnsdale hospital under current management, described the situation as ‘catastrophic.’
“The timing is awful, the busiest time in the hospital’s emergency department is Christmas holidays and Easter,” Dr Watford said.
He called for the resignation of the CEO and long-serving board members, whom he believes are responsible for the departure of the two permanent hospital doctors Scott Deller and Mark Pritchard.
Another senior local GP who works on-call at the hospital, but did not want to be named, also called for the CEO to be sacked.
“What is at risk is the whole survival of medical services at the hospital, this is a real crisis which the board is not handling appropriately,” he said.
The hospital’s CEO and chairman of the board did not return calls to The Weekly Times.