Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and Gunnedah Shire Council have raised alarm at changes to plans for the new Gunnedah Hospital.

Gunnedah Shire Councillors were briefed this week by NSW Health about the latest plans for the long-promised Gunnedah Hospital Redevelopment. Gunnedah Shire Council Mayor Jamie Chaffey has expressed his shock and disappointment over a revised scope and design for Gunnedah Shire’s new hospital.

“We were absolutely appalled by the backpedalling on what has been promised to the Gunnedah community,” Cr Chaffey said.

“After all of the much-touted community consultation, all of the promises – including one from the ultimately successful Labor Government – we are left with a design that delivers nowhere near the services and facilities we desperately need.”

“Council’s own community survey in March 2021 resulted in page after page of people expressing confusion, frustration, anger and in some cases disgust with the poor level of services available in our Shire.”

“We had been assured a new hospital would go some way towards alleviating these life and death concerns.”

Cr Chaffey said Council was advised the new scope would include a new acute service building with an emergency department, a new maternity, birthing and inpatient unit, and a refurbished entry.

“Where is our promised infusion unit that will provide renal dialysis and oncology services? Where is the new theatre and day surgery? Where are the new medical imaging, new back of house, new plant room, new community health facilities, dental services, new front of house and the landscape we have all seen artwork of?

“And there has been no mention of the absolute commitment to 48 beds – how many beds will our new hospital provide?”

“We are deeply shocked at what we have learnt, and horrified on our community’s behalf to be told the original master plan would only be delivered if new funding appeared or ‘someone won the lottery’.”

“It appears the Inquiry into Health Outcomes and Access to Health and Hospital Services in Rural, Regional and Remote NSW has absolutely fallen on deaf ears.”

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has called on the Labor Government to honour their commitment to projects in the Tamworth electorate.

“At the last election, Labor made a lot of promises to the people of Tamworth, including committing to funding Gunnedah Hospital, a Better Banksia Mental Health facility and upgrading Goonoo Goonoo Road, the main entrance road into Tamworth,” Mr Anderson said.

“We’re yet to see any results of the government’s infrastructure review, but it seems decisions have already been made in relation to the Gunnedah Hospital, despite Labor committing to the project in full at the last election.”

“The fact that Gunnedah Hospital has been rescoped is deeply disappointing because just 108 days after the election the signs are clear that Labor will look to cut corners rather invest the money needed in the bush,” Mr Anderson said.

“I’m calling on the Labor Government to fully fund the Gunnedah hospital and back the critical projects that will improve the lives of those in our communities.”

“We should not be penalised just because we live in regional NSW,” he said.

Cr Chaffey has written to the NSW Minister for Health and Regional Health Ryan Park to request his intervention to ensure the Gunnedah Hospital delivers everything that has been promised.

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