MEMBER for Mildura Ali Cupper has congratulated community activists for their advocacy in light of Mildura Base Hospital’s (MBH) decision to allow obstetrician Dr Wendy Hughes to continue using MBH facilities for private obstetric work.

MBH rescinded its decision to end Dr Hughes’contract after a campaign to reinstate attracted enormous community support.

“Mildura was at risk of losing Dr Hughes altogether when a contractual change meant that she was no longer to see private patients using the Mildura Base Hospital’s theatres,” Ms Cupper said.

“The community campaign to encourage Mildura Base Hospital to continue allowing Dr Hughes to access it, has secured her services well into Mildura’s future. Mildura Base Hospital will return to public management in September of this year and after that the Board and CEO will be responsible for maintaining positive working relationships with staff specialists and Visiting Medical Officers.”

Ms Cupper said that people power works. “Thanks to this campaign, Dr Hughes will be a part of that equation and will continue to be a part of the fabric of obstetric and maternity care in our region,” Ms Cupper said.

“Although the decision to end Dr Hughes’ contract was a bad one, I am pleased that the current operator of the hospital saw fit to rescind that decision for the benefit of the community. In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be looking after our best doctors, not driving them out of town.

“It would have been nice if this community campaign wasn’t required, but nonetheless it happened and the hospital management has listened and responded, and for that we are thankful. We have been told that Hospital management has stepped up its game, but I will remain vigilant and speak publicly, where necessary, without fear or favour.

“That is my job, to keep the community safe. We will get through this crisis, but whether we get through unscathed will be a direct result of our actions. Unless absolutely necessary, please stay at home. And if you see behaviour that falls short of the required standard, don’t be afraid to speak up.”