Temora Hospital theatre closure could see expectant mothers transferred to Cootamundra or Young Hospital

An obstetrics theatre room at Temora Hospital will close at the end of August after it was deemed unsafe for surgery.

The room was found to have sub-standard air conditioning and wall suction in an audit conducted by the Australian Council of Healthcare Services.

Under new proposals by the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), operations director Carla Bailey said patients requiring maternity surgery under general anesthetic would be moved to other district hospitals.

“Maternity services will continue to be offered at Temora Hospital for low risk pregnancies,” she said.

“Women who require cesarean births and gynaecological surgery will receive their care at the nearby Cootamundra and Young hospitals in consultation with their GP obstetrician.”

Temora Council met with officials from MLHD to discuss the proposed changes, and will submit a report to council for recommendation once they speak with doctors at the hospital.

Temora Council mayor Rick Firman wants clarity around the reasons for the downgrade and said the whole matter is of “grave concern”.

“The hospital and community is very dear to us and we don’t want to see it diminished in any way, shape or form,” he said.

“We are hopeful the government agrees to upgrade the theatre and that we can maintain the status quo or even improve services.

“After our meeting with the doctors, we will be putting our report and recommendation forward to council.”

Mr Firman said his office will work with the MLHD and former Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson to ensure the hospital does not see any other hit to its health services.

Temora doctors expressed their concern at the closure and GP obstetrician Rachel Christmas said the news came as a “shock” to everyone.

“I think there's a few levels to this that are concerning, one is the immediate position of obstetrics care to our patients,” she said.

“It impacts on the women of the town because a lot of people have to go elsewhere for (child) deliveries.

“We have three obstetrics providers in town and it means they will not be able to practice obstetrics as they have been trained to do.

“I don’t want to see Temora become a victim of bureaucracy.”

The full report by MHLD into Temora Hospital is expected to be released in October.