Abbott promises hospital support
FEDERAL Health Minister Tony Abbott yesterday said he was prepared to throw his weight behind the Murwillumbah District Hospital Support Committee should their pleas fell on deaf ears. The committee are due to meet with NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher today when they will discuss the future of the hospital. Mr Abbott, who was on the Tweed yesterday, promised to investigate the possibility of a fed-%eral government takeover of the Murwillumbah hospital if asked for help. "I am incredibly flattered that so many people around Australia think the federal government would do a much better job than the state governments in running public hospitals," Mr Abbott said. "If we were to get a formal%request from the community hospital group then we will take it%very seriously." Mr Abbott, here to support National candidate for Richmond Sue Page, also met with a range of health professionals. "I have had a very interesting and lively discussion with a whole range of health professionals and it has been good to get their insights into the particular health%issues of the area," he said. The Tweed Hospital, he said,suffered additional stress due to its proximity to the border. "The Tweed Hospital has to look after a lot of people who live in Queensland and a lot of people who are visiting, it is not neces-%sarily funded for that." Mr Abbott said there was need for the two state governments to work together more closely. "If the NSW government was more organised it would hammer out a cross-border arrangement, but people want the federal government to solve the failure of the state government," he said. "One of the things we will be considering in context of the next health care agreement is that we should require NSW/Queensland in respect of the Gold Coast to have some kind of more permanent%arrangement."