Leaking Roofs at Bellingen Hospital

For as long as I have lived in Bellingen (since 1989) the roofs at the hospital have leaked. They were probably leaking well before then!

Hewitt Block was built & completed in February 1977
Hartley House was built & completed in September 1978

2001: During the 2001 major flood SES volunteers attended the hospital as it was experiencing major leaks. The then CE Terry Clout with the EO at Bellingen (Vince Carroll), were unsuccessful with an insurance claim – the insurance provider stated that due to the age & naturally deteriorated state of the roofs they did not qualify. It was known by management then that the only solution was to replace the roofs. Nothing was done other than silicone band aids.

2008 August: During a public forum the lack of maintenance was discussed & I quote
“Ongoing Maintenance: Essential infrastructure & equipment maintenance not being done. Re the latter John Tickle spoke of the OHS risk to staff & patients with beds/trolleys. Dr Little quoted a situation where a leak had been reported – no repair affected – a nurse slipped & is off on compo. In any case maintenance & repairs are not attended to in a timely fashion. Margaret Bennett’s response was “This is a challenge”.

2009: During the 2009 major flood SES volunteers once again attended the hospital. They entered the roof ceiling cavity & identified multiple rust areas. They also observed the poor slope & design of the roof. In fact whilst they were there a phone call was put through to the CE (Chris Crawford) by a nurse on duty & on speaker phone he was heard saying that the “Roofs needed to be replaced”. Nothing was done other than silicone band aids.

2009 November: BHAG wrote to Chris Crawford regarding the state of infrastructure including leaking roofs & offering our services to assist. His response was unsatisfactory with the following statement that ‘…..the NCAHS determine whether the hospital’s state of repair & equipment delivers safe patient care’ implying that the hospital buildings could be deemed unsafe & the hospital closed. BHAG was incensed given the community was offering assistance.

2009 – 2013: BHAG has regularly & continuously discussed the leaking roofs problem with senior management & the current C.E. Stewart Dowrick. In the middle of last year after more than 6 months of BHAG harassing them they finally arranged to have a quote to re-roof both Hewitt Block & Hartley House – $337,000 incl. GST.

2012 Feb: Andrew Stoner was put on the hop with a specific request during an on-site tour to finance re-roofing. On the 12th Sept having heard nothing from the Mid North Coast Local Health District, BHAG wrote to him but he passed the buck back to the Area Health Service – who did nothing other than organise the quote.

2012 July: BHAG met with C.E. & Chairman of the Board. They stated they have no money to re-roof!

2013 Feb: BHAG wrote to Stoner & Dowrick re the roof & advised them of the Special General Meeting (SGM) & motion. We requested they respond to us prior to the SGM. We have heard from Andrew Stoner & Andrew Fraser but no response from Stewart Dowrick.

We are prepared to do whatever it takes to resolve this situation.
We have commenced a petition, public awareness campaign & further fund raising.
27th February 2013
Barbara Moore (President of BHAG Inc.)