MEDICOS CONCERNS: Orange clinicians (back) Paul Bloomfield, Martyn Patfield, Tony Kirkwood, Peter Holmes, Ivan Srzich, Tristan Duncan and John Kerdic and (front) Ming Chan, Sharon Brennan, Fran Gearon, Ron Vaughan, Ruth Arnold and Peter Bryan who are concerned at the lack of transparency and procedural fairness at Orange hospital in relation to the Cardiology Department at the hospital. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 0520pbdoctors5ORANGE’S medical professionals are rallying behind the Cardiology Department at Orange hospital, which is in dispute with hospital management and the Western Local Health District (WLHD).

It is claiming a failure on behalf of management to follow protocols and procedural fairness in dealing with complaints from staff from the department.

Cardiologist Dr Ruth Arnold said she is calling on NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to conduct a full investigation into the way management of Orange Health Service (OHS) and the WLHD has handled the complaints of senior cardiology and nursing staff, and a subsequent review carried out by the hospital.

Dr Arnold said she fears for the viability of the Cardiology Department in the current situation.

The conflict began late last year according to Dr Arnold, when the hospital threatened to stand down one of the team of cardiologists resulting in complaints by cardiologists and senior nurses. She claims department staff were then singled out by hospital management.

Orange’s Medical Staff Council (MSC) became involved in the conflict, passing resolutions at a recent extraordinary meeting supporting the cardiologists in their complaint and calling for an independent review free of any conflict of interest by OHS and WLHD.

Member for Orange Andrew Gee is supporting the doctors by writing to NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and chief executive officer of the WLHD Scott McLachlan earlier this week, asking for a clarification of the doctors’ concerns saying he wants their claims investigated as a matter of urgency.

Mr Gee told Ms Skinner and Mr McLachlan he was concerned Orange doctors felt they had to take the action they have and said it highlighted the high degree of concern medical professionals within the OHS have regarding the manner in which the issue surrounding one of the cardiologists was handled.

WLHD Medical Services director Clayton Spencer said the WLHD and OHS are communicating with all parties involved as appropriate including responding directly to the MSC about their concerns.

“Patient safety remains the priority throughout this process and is at the forefront of any decisions made,” he said.

“Due to the confidential nature of our discussions, we cannot make further comment at this stage.”

The MSC has about 50 clinicians across a variety of medical disciplines in Orange.

“Orange’s medical professionals are very appreciative of the support shown to us by Mr Gee,” Dr Arnold said.

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