A Letter to the Citizens of Tumut - Wake Up, Tumut!
18 September 1945 The Tumut and Adelong Times
After reading the account of the Hospital annual public meeting in Tuesday's paper I could not help but remark “How unique a public meeting of subscribers and interested members of the public, called through the Press, and seven turned up - five members of the Board, the Secretary and the Press.”
Now this state of complete disinterestedness could not happen in any other country town but Tumut of that I feel sure.
During the 9½ years I have been Matron of your hospital I have wondered at this lack of interest in the annual public meeting.
In other years someone is usually taken along to represent the public and to speak on behalf of the public; but evidently this year's canvass was unsuccessful, and as a result the annual public meeting has been and gone, and not one of the many tradespeople with whom the hospital does business or any of the 520 people treated as patients during the year felt disposed to go along and say 'Thank you'' to the Board of Directors or the doctors or the hospital staff.
The real object of calling the public to the annual meeting is to give all interested, and particularly subscribers, an opportunity of hearing of the activities of the Board of Directors, who are appointed by the subscribers and the Hospitals Commission to act for the public in the management of the business side of the hospital.
When you read the details of the annual report you will understand that this is no small matter.
“All members of the Board give their time voluntarily as YOUR representatives.
It is your duty, therefore to assist the Board of Directors in any way you can by either placing your views or suggestions before them or even, if necessary, to criticise them!
That is what a public meeting, is called for - open and constructive criticism is most helpful.
It also naturally follows, then, that the public is given an opportunity of openly supporting the Board and ac knowledging the big work done by the Directors on behalf of the public.
This year's annual report was one well worthy of the appreciation and acknowledgment of the citizens of Tumut.
I am amazed that so much could be done by so few.
I could do with a lot more help from my Board, but have given up expecting it because I know without the backing of the general public they are powerless to do any more than they are doing.
I have often wondered why they "stick to their guns" at all.
It is no doubt because they know a hospital cannot get along without a Board and they, therefore, have the joy that comes of a job well done, because they have done their job well.
It is the public who has failed.
Your hospital, by the mere fact of being here, is the greatest financial aid to your town that you have in this district.
Without it the bulk of the £5,342 expenditure accounted for in the Secretary's annual report would not be circulating in your town each year.
When one considers that the main sources of income comes into your town from Sydney - through the Hospitals Commission from the Systematic Contribution Scheme, which extends throughout the whole district - and from the outstanding activities of the Batlow Hospital Auxiliary, it is really surprising that such an outstanding asset to your town as is your district hospital does not call for greater support, even from a "business-is-business" point of view.
But a more essential claim is what is so conspicuous by its absence and is man's interest in man's concerns.
And what is or more importance, I ask you, than the health and wellbeing of your fellowmen?
The first essential in any town or any size is a good medical service and well equipped hospitals.
Tumut people, I feel sure, know they are lucky in both these respects, but time marches on and we must move with the times.
We definitely cannot move forward without the support of our Board of Directors.
They have at all times assisted us most wholeheartedly.
But to do their job effectively they must carry out the wishes of the people.
How can they function at all when the public show such a lack of interest? A
lready your local hospital has had extra demands placed on it by the outcome of the war.
We have treated numbers of returned men on leave for malaria and other tropical complaints.
The demand for more and yet more hospital treatment will increase as the boys are returned to their town.
In the years to come it will be your local hospital staff's, work to care for these lads, whose general health must necessarily be impaired by the hardships they have undergone in war years.
This nerve-strain will also have a breaking down effect on the home folk who so gallantly bore the strain of "carrying on" whilst their loved ones were away.
They, too, will need care and consideration.
So start the work of rehabilitation in this town by taking a keen and helpful interest in the work of fitting your hospital to meet the demands that will be placed on it.
Please look ahead, people of Tumut, and pull your weight in what is definitely your Christian duty - the care of the sick!
You can do this - most effectively by giving the Board of Management your wholehearted support.
Don't let them and all they represent down next year, as you have done in the past!
And don't wait till next year to show your interest.
You know who are the Board of Directors - the same few who have carried the load for years.
They will be grateful for your help and I will be able to forward my plans for the adequate development of your hospital.
I am, etc., M. O'Rourke
Matron, Tumut District Hospital.