The Gulgong Hospital was built in 1901 and has serviced the Gulgong and surrounding community for over one century. On Sunday the 28th of August at 8pm the doors of Gulgong hospital closed indefinitely as a result of a Work Cover Report from early this year that found the hospital to be lacking in many safety necessities. The community of Gulgong are currently still undergoing negotiations with the Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) in an attempt to meet a resolution, which will allow 24 hour emergency health care to be available to the community.
While an agreement is being determined for the provision of emergency healthcare in the future, GWAHS has come to the agreement to keep the emergency department at Gulgong Hospital open for 12 hours a day (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday) and for 8 hours a day on the weekends (but these times are currently being reviewed.
The Ambulance Service of NSW has advised that it will continue to provide 24 hour prehospital emergency health care and transport of sick and injured persons within the community of Gulgong. However, it should be noted that the paramedics at Gulgong station will now be providing this level of care during transport times of a minimum of 30 minutes to the nearest hospital or Emergency Doctor! Another consideration that needs to be addressed by GWAHS is the fact that, so long as the paramedics are transporting to another hospital facility, Gulgong will have to wait, at a minimum 30 minutes for the next Ambulance to be able to attend a medical emergency, while it travels from the next nearest Ambulance station.
According to local residents who have recently attended the Gulgong Hospital as a result of injuries or illnesses, there have been many patients in just the last few weeks, leading up to the closure of Gulgong Hospital, who have suffered life-threatening injuries, or cardiac arrests, who literally owe their lives to the fact that Gulgong Hospital was open at the time and was able to provide life saving care and treatment by specially trained Doctors and Nurses.
This article further emphasizes the current trend in emergency health and community health, which represents the changes in the role of the modern paramedic, in which he or she is treating patients for longer and longer, and more holistically than ever before. We wish the town of Gulgong good luck in the future for gaining support and a 24 hour hospital in the future.