Funding review

The Gumeracha Hospital has been without an emergency department for much of the pandemic.

It is great to finally see some action on Gumeracha’s closed emergency department.
For most of the Covid-19 pandemic, the northern Hills region has been without a local ED.
Instead, locals in need of emergency care have been forced to access it further-afield at Mt Barker or Modbury.
A Federal funding model that doesn’t accurately reflect the challenges of the Gumeracha area helped create this mess, with an arbitrary line somewhere between Gumeracha and Birdwood disincentivising rural doctors from practicing at the former.
But thanks to Regional Health Minister David Gillespie’s promise to review Gumeracha’s classification under that problematic funding model, hope could be in sight for Gumeracha locals who have been campaigning to get their ED back.
Sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the oil.
But it has been far from easy. It took a massive effort from the community, its doctors, the media and local politicians, and it is a credit to all involved that a result appears to be forthcoming.
Now that the Minister has said a review is going to happen, it’s important that it is done properly, with consideration to the unique geographical and workforce circumstances of Gumeracha and its surrounds.
We do not want to see the Gumeracha community in the same situation that they are now, after this review has taken place.
It’s vital that the review is also done in a timely manner.
The community has been without an ED for far too long.
As the State Member for Schubert, Ashton Hurn, said: “it’s time to get on with it”.
The sooner the review is completed, the sooner Gumeracha’s doctors and nurses can plan for the future of healthcare in the community, because the recruitment and resource-building they need won’t happen overnight.