NUMEROUS Glen Innes residents were transferred to Armidale hospital on the last weekend in November after claims by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall that there was no doctor on duty.
Hunter New England Health has refuted the claims that the Glen Innes hospital had no doctor on duty.
One patient, a visitor from Brisbane, told Mr Marshall that he presented at the Glen Innes hospital emergency with severe pain from a double hernia but was turned away as there was no doctor on duty.
Mr Marshall was told that the patient was turned away without pain relief.
However, Hunter New England Health Chief Executive Michael DiRienzo disputes those claims.
“On the weekend beginning Friday 25 November a doctor was available at Glen Innes Hospital,” he said.
“A local GP, who has admitting rights to the Hospital and regularly participates in the Emergency Department roster, was available to cover the emergency department all weekend.”
But Local MP Adam Marshall is hopping mad at Mr DiRienzo and, along with a swag of locals, disputes his claims.
“A doctor may have been ‘available’ but there was no doctor there, I can assure you,” he said.
“If there was a doctor present then the patient would have been treated by the doctor - and he wasn't.
“Further, he was told there was no doctor available to treat him. I also have statements from other locals who were transferred from Glen Innes to Armidale Hospital over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) due to no doctor being present in the hospital.
“I suggest that either Mr DiRienzo is treating the community as fools or he isn't aware of what is really going on in his hospitals.”
Local resident Navanka Fletcher also disputes Mr DiRienzo’s claims.
“If there was a doctor available then why was my mother sent by ambulance to Armidale without seeing a doctor in Glen Innes because there was no doctor available on Sunday,” she said.
“The hospital staff and ambulance staff were amazing to deal with but there was definitely not a doctor there to look at any patients.”
Local Mum Samantha Duddy agreed with Miss Fletcher.
“I was clearly told there was not a doctor in Glen Innes on Sunday and I had to take my 16 year old daughter to Armidale,” she said.
“We waited for nearly two hours in Armidale but once she saw a doctor and was diagnosed with pneumonia she was admitted straight away.”
Mr Marshall said Mrs Duddy’s situation is another reason he wants to sit down with Mr DiRienzo and sort this issue out.
“What Mrs Duddy is saying opens up a whole other can of worms,” he said.
“The reason people from Glen Innes and Inverell had to wait to be seen was because the Armidale emergency was not adequately staffed to look after three town’s worth of emergency presentations.
“The situations in Glen Innes and Inverell have had a domino effect and it could have had dire consequences.”