New Roofs for Bellingen Hospital One Step Closer

The Bellinger Health Action Group has taken the extraordinary step of committing $35,000 for new roofs on the existing buildings at the Bellingen Hospital. The decision was made by a unanimous vote at a Special General Meeting of BHAG last Wednesday night.

“The members of BHAG are thrilled to know the essential services at our Hospital are one step closer to a secure future. High quality health services and the safety and comfort of patients and staff go hand in hand. A leaking roof has no place in a modern quality health service” said Barbara Moore, BHAG President.

“We know this project is a high priority for our Mid North Coast Local Health District, and so we feel strongly that our local community should also show it’s commitment to the local Hospital with this amazing contribution. We all know budgets are tight, but working together we can make these things happen” added Ms Moore.

“In Bellingen we know about rain. We know that a good sound roof is crucial.”

“There is a formal quote for $337,000 to re-roof both Hewitt Block and Hartley House. With the new 14 bed Sub-Acute wing being added to Hewitt Block, plus refurbishment of the Emergency Department, as well as planning to mount solar hot water systems – now is the time to fix the roofs.”

“The people of the Bellingen Shire have worked hard to raise these funds,” said Pauline Murphy, tireless fundraiser for BHAG. “There have been a lot of generous acts. Now the single best outcome for this hard work and generosity is new roofs on both Hewitt Block and Hartley House.”

“We will keep doing all we can, but we also need our partners the MNCLHD and the State Government to make up the balance. They have done a lot for our hospital in the last couple of years, but we need new roofs.”

“All of the Bellingen Shire is excited to have the new Sub–Acute wing” continued Ms Murphy. “It’s great news for our Hospital. But these new beds are not for acutely ill people. The existing beds in Hewitt Block and Hartley House are where local people who are acutely ill can be admitted, so our focus is keeping those buildings well maintained” added Ms Murphy. “I have been a patient at the hospital in Hewitt Block, and received great care and treatment. It was distressing though to have to be moved because of water running into my room. The patients and our wonderful Nurses need better”.

BHAG was established in response to threats to health services at the Bellingen Hospital, under the former North Coast Area Health Service. Health bureaucrats once thought Bellingen Hospital inefficient and a burden on the health system. Now it is seen as an essential part of the Coffs Clinical Network, serving people from not only the Bellingen Shire but also from Coffs Harbour and places all the way from Stuarts Point to Glenreagh. Millions of dollars are being spent at the Bellingen Hospital, but one remaining threat is the state of the existing infrastructure. The most important and pressing issue is the state of the roofs.

“The MNCLHD and State Government have found money for the new wing and the Emergency Department. That’s great. But in in your own home you wouldn’t add a bedroom and refurbish the kitchen – but leave your roof leaking” concluded Ms Moore.