Recent history of the Leaking Roofs at Bellingen Hospital

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 “the Roofs needed to be replaced”. Nothing was done other than ‘silicone’ band aids.

2009 November: BHAG wrote to Chris Crawford (Chief Executive of the Area Health Service) 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 request by BHAG they finally arranged to have a quote to re-roof both Hewitt Block & Hartley House – the quote came in at $337,000 incl. GST.

2012 Feb: Our local MP Andrew Stoner was caught off-guard during an on-site tour of the hospital gardens & grounds with a specific request by BHAG to finance re-roofing. On the 12th Sept having heard nothing from the Mid North Coast Local Health District, BHAG wrote to Andrew Stoner however all he has done is once again refer the matter back to the Local Health District – who have done nothing other than organise the quote.

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

2013 Feb: BHAG wrote to Andrew Stoner & Stewart Dowrick re the leaking roof matter again & advised them of the Special General Meeting (SGM) & motion to allocate funds. We requested they respond to us prior to the SGM. We received a reply from Andrew Stoner & Andrew Fraser but no response from Stewart Dowrick. We have contacted both parties again however we are still waiting for a response from Mr Dowrick.

2013 March: BHAG commenced a Petition, further fundraising & a media & public awareness campaign.
We are prepared to do whatever it takes to resolve this situation.
Barbara Moore (President BHAG Inc.) 27th March 2013