Bello locals celebrate hospital

Nurses at what is now known as Bellingen River District Hospital.

HAVING served the community for more than 120 years, the Bellinger River District Hospital certainly has some stories to tell.

Twelve decades of multitudinous medical services to the community was notched up at the end of 2023, providing an opportunity to reminisce about the invaluable service the hospital has provided since 1903.

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“It began as a training hospital and fostered innovation as one of the first hospitals in Australia to use X-rays and adopt a hospital contribution scheme,” Executive Officer and Director of Nursing Lisa Slater said.

“The original building contained wards housing four men and two women.

“Today, it’s a 42-bed facility with a 24-hour ED and a range of specialist services, including emergency medicine, general medicine, day surgery, rehabilitation, and palliative care.”

A recent social media post offered evidence of the special place the hospital holds in the hearts of Bellingen locals.
Bellingen Hospital Pink Auxiliary President Waveney Ayscough put up a post on The Mary’s Teahouse Cafe UHA Facebook page, asking people why Bellingen’s hospital means so much to them.

“Because it’s personal, caring and connected to our community,” respondent Jody Newhouse shared.

Confessing to clumsiness running in his family, Pete Bufo shared, “They have stitched us back together, swaddled our breaks, nursed our bruises, helped us recover from our ailments, helped us with magic elixirs.”

Cassie Jane noted the security of having a local hospital.

“People feel safe knowing that the hospital is there.”

Josee de Mooy said the hospital’s size and rural location meant staff “are compassionate about their job”.

Catherine Jones was one of many who praised everyone from the doctors, nurses, food handlers, cleaners, office staff, Pink Ladies, occupational therapists and the physios.

Tamson Heather Mayo noted that you’re likely to be in a vulnerable state when required to stay in hospital.

“It’s so comforting to be surrounded by the familiar local faces of the incredible staff at Bello hospital at such a time.”

Other commenters mentioned the challenges of travelling to Coffs Harbour for treatment, and the speed of treatment consistently offered at Bellingen.

“They know their regulars by name and provide such quality and empathetic individualised treatments, ensuring the health and well-being of our community,” Genevieve Staunton-Latimer said of the Bellingen hospital staff.

“We are very lucky to have this quality of hospital in our backyard.”

To celebrate the hospital’s 120 years of service, a gala event will be held in Bellingen in mid-March.

Visit the Mid North Coast Health Facebook page for more information.


Bellinger River District Hospital drivers with their ambulances.

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