The Manning Great Lakes Community Health Action Group (CHAG) has made a formal application for the public release of the Hunter New England Local Health District's (HNELHD) Lower Mid North Coast Clinical Services Plan for the Manning, Great Lakes and Gloucester areas, citing a lack of transparency.
Completed in June-July, the Clinical Services Plan provides information about stage two of the the $100 million redevelopment of Manning Base Hospital infrastructure.
HNELHD chief executive Michael DiRienzo said the plan had not been made available to the general public as it was a large and complex document and he did not want it to be misread or misinterpreted as an operational plan.
"This is a Clinical Services Plan designed to assist in guiding us (in respect to) the infrastructure we need to build within our $100 million capital investment to get maximum service delivery," Mr DiRienzo said at the time.
"We've summarised and put forward all of the findings of the clinical services plan and that's what we'll be releasing to the community."
Ahead of the news of the plan's completion CHAG committee and hospital staff representatives were invited to a briefing about the plan.
CHAG representatives requested the public release of the entire plan but were refused.
"We consider that this is an insult to the 94,000 members of the Manning Great Lakes region who are all stakeholders in the health needs of our wonderful area," CHAG president, Eddie Wood said.
Mr Wood said that other health districts have their Clinical Services Plan freely available to the public on their websites, and questioned why HNELHD could not do the same.
"We find it unacceptable that the NSW Department of Health does not insist on uniformity amongst NSW health districts," Mr Wood said.
CHAG says the release of the Clinical Services Plan would indicate to the community how plans for a new public hospital at Forster "might be an essential element of health service delivery in this area over the next 10 years."
We cannot have secrets about our future health needs for the Manning Great Lakes Gloucester Area,Eddie Wood, president Manning Great Lakes Community Health Action Group
"For that reason, the committee strongly urges the whole community of the Manning, Great Lakes and Gloucester region, and particularly Forster, to back our call for the Clinical Services Plan to be released in its entirety," Mr Wood said.
CHAG also questioned whether there were provisions for a cardiac catheterisation lab in the Clinical Services Plan.
"We cannot have secrets about our future health needs for the Manning Great Lakes Gloucester Area," Mr Wood said.
"We are all taxpayers and stakeholders and have a right to transparency which is why it is vital that the whole community rallies behind us in our efforts to obtain the Clinical Services Plan in its entirety to improve health service delivery in our local area.
"Without it, we shall not know what the next 10 years years in store for us and for future generations."
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