Barilaro blasts Hospital on dementia care silence

Local NSW Health representatives are still unable to say whether two vacant dementia care jobs at the Hospital will be filled.

Local NSW Health representatives are still unable to say whether two vacant dementia care jobs at the Hospital will be filled.

MONARO MP John Barilaro has blasted NSW Health for failing to provide answers regarding dementia support staff at Queanbeyan Hospital.

Concerns were raised last week about a drop in dementia care services in the community, when it was confirmed in a report by The Queanbeyan Age at least two specialist dementia care nurses ceased work at the hospital.

Although the positions have been left ''vacant'' for almost a month, NSW Health still cannot tell the Monaro MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Regional Development whether the positions had been advertised.

An enquiry from The Queanebyan Age to Southern NSW Health this week on the current status of the jobs went unanswered by deadline on Thursday.

The drop in services has been sorely felt by patients, their families and the non-profits in the Queanbeyan mental health sector left to pick up the slack. On Thursday, Mr Barilaro was still unable to extract answers from NSW Health about the situation said he had lost confidence in the department.

''I am incensed," he said. "NSW Health have dragged their feet and failed to provide answers where you would expect information would be readily available."

"I think the Queanbeyan Community have been let down and I have lost confidence that NSW Health have a way forward in this case.''

Mr Barilaro said funding had not been cut and that refilling the position was urgent.

"I want those vacancies filled. I will be intervening and will take this issue to the minister's office."

Country Labor candidate for Monaro, Steve Whan said this was not the first time vacancies at the hospital had given rise of concerns about the quality of community health services in Queanbeyan.

In February this year when there were 10 clinical vacancies in the hospital's Mental Health Service following changes introduced in late 2013, he said it became clear vague promises that non-government services would adequately replace specialist mental health care from hospital staff was not good enough.

''There is a repeating pattern it seems in Queanbeyan with cuts to community health services,'' he said.

''This is a false economy. These services helped to keep people living in their own homes - if they end up in a hospital or nursing home it will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more per year."

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