Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 20 September 2018
Page: 9773

Mr CONROY (Shortland) (10:42): The pink and blue ladies, more formally known as the Belmont District Hospital Auxiliary, recently celebrated their 70th birthday. I was very grateful for the opportunity to attend their recent celebration of this important milestone. The pink and blue ladies have provided invaluable support and comfort to patients and their families and the staff at Belmont Hospital. During the 70 years of their existence the auxiliary has raised almost $2 million for lifesaving equipment for the hospital. This is a truly remarkable achievement.

Belmont Hospital is just up the road from my electorate office and serves as an important mid-sized facility beside the larger John Hunter Hospital. My constituents in Belmont and many surrounding suburbs rely on these services, especially the GP after-hours service, which provides medical care to patients outside normal business hours so that they don't go directly to the emergency department. The Belmont Hospital, given the population in that area, has a particular focus on senior Australians.

Of course it's the role of government to provide world-class and comprehensive health services. Australians rightly expect this, and I am proud of our universal healthcare system. However, volunteer organisations, like the pink and blue ladies, are also an essential part of the health sector. Their contribution is important and much appreciated. Two of the organisation's longest-serving members—Olive Jackson and Bess Birkett—were given the honour of cutting the birthday cake. I thank them both for their service over many decades.

Over the last couple of years there has been a change in the culture of the way that the hospital works. The blue ladies at Belmont Hospital now make some of the best cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes in Belmont. They purchased a cappuccino machine when there were changes to the way they could serve and deliver food, and they not only showed their enterprise but continued to grow stronger. It was great to see some doctors at the celebration talking about the quality of the coffee they now offer. For anyone who's had the pleasure of experiencing hospital food, having an auxiliary that really puts love and care into the provision of food and drink is something that is really remarkable.

The thing that I was struck by when I was talking to some of the pink and blue ladies was that not only do they provide the material comfort of a hot coffee or some sneaky chocolates for some of the medical staff to get through a long shift they provide emotional support, checking up on patients and looking after families that are doing it tough as their loved ones are going through a particularly tough time. And, as the husband of a nurse, I know they perform a great function by also looking after staff—staff who are harried and who are working extremely long hours looking after the sick in our community.

So on behalf of the people of Shortland, I thank the pink and blue ladies for their 70 years of dedication and service to our local community, and I look forward to their next 70 years of service.