South Coast Obstetrician Michael Holland Resigns Citing ‘Untenable’ Position with Local Health District of Southern New South Wales

Michael Holland, Eurobodalla’s longtime obstetrician and gynecologist, has said he is resigning due to what he describes as suspected unsafe practices in the local Southern Health District.

He said a recent review of maternity services at Moruya Hospital was prompted by his testimony to her during a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry into regional and rural health in October, where he declared under parliamentary privilege that the unit’s neonatal services were “unsafe.”

But he says the review did not address his concerns, prompting him to resign.

“My position with Southern NSW LHD has really become untenable following a recent review of maternity services at Moruya District Hospital,” he said.

‘Root cause’ ignored

Dr Holland is the only contract obstetrician in the Eurobodalla region, looking after women and babies from Milton-Ulladulla and south to Eden.

He said the review contained 19 recommendations, and only one addressed the unsafe neonatal services.

“Their response was not to look at this root cause and say ‘yes this needs to be resolved,’ he said.

“Their response was to blame the clinicians who were trying to keep the service together, including obstetricians, general practitioners, and midwives.”

Dr Holland cares for women and babies along the south coast of New South Wales, including Batemans Bay.(Provided: Eurobodalla Coast Tourism)

Dr Holland has been a Visiting Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Southern NSW LHD for 19 years.

His contract was due to end in mid 2023, but he had planned to provide future services after the opening of the new Eurobodalla hospital, which is still in the planning phase.

His resignation will be effective from mid-February 2022.

Over the years, Dr Holland has been a strong advocate for opening the new Eurobodalla Hospital as a level four service, as opposed to a level three.

“I have been advocating for this for 19 years … I have informed the community that the clinical service plan is not funded to provide them with the service they expect,” he said.

“There was a reduction in the original theater space, the removal of a central sterilization unit … they cut maternity, neonatal and pediatric beds and they rejected radiation oncology.”

Two resignations

In a statement, a spokesperson for the local South New South Wales Health District thanked Dr Holland, as well as general obstetrician Dr Lisa Hyde, for their service at Moruya Hospital, at the following their resignations.

He confirmed that the two doctors tendered their resignations after maternity services staff received a copy of the results of the ‘Eurobodalla Maternity Services Resilience Assessment’ which was undertaken by the Eurobodalla last week. Chief Obstetrician Dr Michael Nicholl and the Clinical Excellence Commission.

“The report was not aimed at specific individuals but was drafted in accordance with the role of the CEC,” the statement said.

“SNSWLHD has taken immediate action to address the recommendations of the assessment report.

“Resignations will not result in any interruption in the provision of services.”

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