RNSH Medical Staff Council moves motion of no confidence in LHD Board – December 15, 2014

At the latest meeting of the RNSH Medical Staff Council (MSC), a motion of no confidence in the LHD Board was proposed by the clinician representatives of the Master Planning Executive Working Group (MEWG), which was subsequently supported by the Executive of the MSC.

Given the item was not on the meeting’s agenda, a vote could not be held.

The MSC has since scheduled an Extraordinary Meeting for next Monday, December 22 at 5.30pm in the Kolling Auditorium at RNSH.

The meeting has been scheduled for the reasons below. Should the motion stand, we will bring the motion to the attention of the NSW Health Minister.

Please attend the meeting to #helpsaveRNSH and to send a strong, unified message to the NSW Health Minister regarding how we expect Board-related business to be led.

  1. The Board’s failure to disclose the planned divestment of campus land over the entire duration of the campus Master Planning process. This process extended from early 2012 until September 2014 when, without notice or consultation, the “Expression of Interest” (EOI) process for the sale or long-term lease of the Southern Campus land was announced. There is no mention of the sale or long-term lease of land in the Master Plan document which was developed during the campus Master Planning process.
  2.  The Board’s failure to consider the long-term future of the campus in endorsing the sale or long-term lease of the Southern campus land and not providing an opportunity for alternative funding options to be explored.
  3. The Board’s misrepresentation of the views of the clinician representatives on the MEWG to the Minister of Health and to the broader RNSH staff, by implying they either:

             i) supported the proposed sale or long-term lease of Zone 8 of the southern campus, or

             ii)”signed-off” on the divestment by endorsing the campus master plan.

This was clearly not the case as outlined in the letter written by the aforementioned clinician representatives to the Chair of the Board, dated October 10, 2014.

  1. The Board’s failure to acknowledge the concerns of the MEWG clinicians, or that their views had been misrepresented, and to provide a response to the letter described in point 3, above.
  2. The Board’s failure to acknowledge, and take responsibility for, the communication failures around the divestment strategy. This failure was further compounded by the attempt to blame the MEWG clinicians for failing to communicate the details of the Campus Master Plan to the broader nursing and allied health staff – an accusation that was both disrespectful and baseless. 
  3.  The Board’s provision of incorrect information regarding the land divestment. The MEWG clinicians were assured by the Chair of the MEWG that there was no plan to divest campus land. There has been no explanation for why the MEWG was given this incorrect information.

Opening of the Clinical Services Building – Save RNSH 2014

Dr Richard Piper, Staff Specialist in Intensive Care, RNSH has composed the following video for the opening of RNSH’s Clinical Services Building this Friday, December, 12 http://goo.gl/BfaeRX

“In 2011, NSW Health was planning to divest more than 30 per cent of the RNSH campus. They were about to destroy one of the major teaching hospitals in the country. It was a public health disaster.

“Within two years [of the completion of the new Acute Services building], it had been necessary to construct another building to house these essential patient services. This building, The Clinical Services Building, is to be opened this week by the Minister for Health. It is constructed on land that would have been divested in 2011 had it not been for the community’s protest.

“We do not seem to have learned from this lesson. At the present time, NSW Health is proceeding with divestment of land on the southern part of the RNSH campus. This land is adjacent to land that was divested in the 1990s. The funds generated at this time would only have run the hospital for a few months, but the clinical opportunities that it could’ve provided were lost forever.” Dr Richard Piper.

Margaret Stewart, volunteer, Breast Screen, RNSH

IMG_5719Margaret Stewart, who has been volunteering for Breast Screen, RNSH for the past two years, shares her thoughts on the NSW government’s planned divestment of RNSH.

“I have a passion for RNSH for my dear husband was born at the hospital in 1929.

“I am very much against the sale of RNSH campus land. I’m against privatisation & the NSW government selling off taxpayers’ assets who have contributed to health & the construction of RNSH. The land belongs to RNSH. The government should be exercising more forward thinking to safeguard the hospital’s future.”

Judith Smythe, Pink Ladies volunteer, RNSH

IMG_5718Judith Smythe, a gorgeous Pink Ladies volunteer in her 80s, has spent the past 8 years volunteering at RNSH. She works four-times-a-week at the hospital. She has gripes with the current lack of shelter offered to those disembarking from the bus on walking frames, crutches, wheelchairs & heading up the path to RNSH. She is also frustrated with the lack of shelter provided to those heading from the North Shore Private car park to RNSH. In addition, she fields many complaints about the railing along the pathway for people to grip onto that allegedly “gets boiling hot in the heat & slippery in wet weather.”

Her biggest gripe relates to the government’s planned divestment of RNSH’s southern campus. “It’s very narrow-minded. They have given no consideration to the future. We’re an ageing, growing population. Why sell land that will be needed in the future to help prevent & manage illness? It’s senseless, and all for the sake of generating a bit of cash now. It shows absolutely no forward-thinking by the government.” – Judith Smythe, Pink Lady

David, 86, Sydney – RNSH patient & community member opposing hospital campus land sale, Nov 28, 2014

David, 86, Sydney

RNSH patient & community member opposing hospital campus land sale

In 1953, David, 86, father-of-two and grandfather-of-two relocated from the Hunter

Heather & David on their golden wedding anniversary

Heather & David on their golden wedding anniversary

Valley to Sydney, following a six month-long hospitalisation to treat his polio.

Requiring ongoing physiotherapy to manage his disease, David was referred to Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH).

Since 1953, almost all of David’s hospital visits have been to RNSH, including for the birth of his second son, Bruce in 1968, who is now Head of the RNSH Department of Renal Medicine.

“I’ve spent a lot of time visiting RNSH over the years for various injuries I’ve had, and also to visit my wife when she was in hospital.

“Only last week, I visited my wife at RNSH for her CT Scan,” said David.

With advancing age, both David and his wife, Heather, 84, are increasingly frequenting the hospital, and both are genuinely appreciative of the facility and its professional services.

“My wife and I are well over 80 now and we seem to be visiting RNSH more and more.

“Easy access to information and the close proximity of the hospital to our home makes it a marvellous facility for us,” David said.

“As people grow old, accessibility to hospital facilities is important, and RNSH is our favourite hospital.”

David is vehemently opposed to the Baird government’s planned land sale of Zone 8 (the southern precinct) of RNSH, describing the move as very “short-sighted”.

“I am directly against the sale or divestment of campus land. The Baird government is planning to sell one of the few areas of the remaining hospital land that will compromise its future.

“This land is also prime hospital land with level easy access to the railway station and the buses,” said David.

Keep the land at the front near the railway station so that elderly patients like David, 86, post-polio, don’t have to climb this hill

Keep the land at the front near the railway station so that elderly patients like David, 86, post-polio, don’t have to climb this hill

“They will only make enough money from the land sale to keep the hospital running for a month – it’s a very short-sighted view.

“I understand that, for a teaching hospital, RNSH is actually very small. There has been a lot of work done to the hospital recently and the good thing about owning the land is that buildings can be knocked down and re-built when required,” David said.

“I am dead against any divestment of hospital land, in case there’s a need to re-build. You can’t re-build the hospital if the land belongs to someone else.

“They [the government] have already gotten rid of the accommodation that people travelling from the country require, as well as the hydro pool. When will they realise enough is enough, and stop?” questioned David.

“I’ve heard a rumour that reportedly emanated from one of the Ministerial offices, stating the RNSH doctors and members of the local community had been informed of the government’s plans to sell the land. Well, I can tell you, that’s just not true!

“My son, Bruce, who is a doctor at the hospital, has heard nothing of the government’s plans to divest the land. He has asked other hospital staff, and they too, have not been informed of such plans,” David said.

“My wife and I haven’t heard anything either, and I don’t know anyone else who has been advised about this potential land sale.”

As a supporter of the RNSH Medical Staff Council’s 12,700-strong ‘People’s Petition’ opposing the sale or long-term lease of RNSH land that was handed-over to Greens NSW MP, Dr John Kaye recently, David says he is proud of the community for showing their support to save the southern hospital campus, but extremely disappointed with the Baird government’s short-sightedness on the topic.

“A lot of doctors, including Bruce, volunteered their time to pound the pavement, in order to collect more than 12,000 signatures from the community to oppose the land divestment.

“When they first approached the local Liberal offices, they were told the matter would not be considered until January, 2015,” said David.

“It seems the Baird Government only sees dollar signs, and isn’t genuinely considering the history of the hospital, and how it was originally donated to the people of the Lower North Shore, or even the services that the hospital offers.

“This is a hospital used by one-in-17 Australians, and in my opinion, it is absolutely abhorrent what the government is doing,” David said.

“I think back 50 years ago, when I was in the coastal hospital. Even being incarcerated with 28 others, we could see the ocean and the coast, which helped keep us sane.

“I can tell you, it is far better as a hospital patient to be able to look out on trees and open green space, rather than car parks or buildings. Green space certainly helps speed recovery,” said David.