Blue Mountains health services praised

NEPEAN Blue Mountains Health District celebrated its achievements over the past year at its annual general meeting at Nepean Hospital on Thursday.

Aboriginal elder and Nepean Hospital board member Clark Scott gave a traditional welcome to country and praised the health service for seeing the importance of it.

The district's chief executive, Kay Hyman, told staff, hospital volunteers and guests the health service had won several national and international accolades over the previous year.

She mentioned that Nepean Hospital introduced robotic surgery last year, which enables more effective keyhole surgery.

"We also have more than 400 volunteers in our hospital," Ms Hyman said.

"Without your support we could not provide the range and depth of services we do to the community.

"Volunteers play important roles in visiting and comforting patients; helping patients with therapy dogs; even driving trolley trucks."

She also said volunteers had raised $350,000 in donations for the health district.

The chairman of the district board, Associate Professor Patrick Cregan, said the recent Blue Mountains bushfires posed both professional and personal challenges to the service.

"Fifteen of our staff lost their homes in the bushfire," Professor Cregan said.

"While the fires were a tragedy, we responded to the challenge of this emergency.

"We evacuated patients from Springwood Hospital and several aged-care facilities and later returned them.

"It was heartening to see how efficient this was."

Speakers said challenges to a health services would always be immense, particularly when it covered four local government areas with nearly 337,000 residents.

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