Tweed Hospital beats negative prognosis

By Patrick Williams

TWO weeks on and the Tweed Hospital remains open for business, despite predictions from Tweed MP Geoff Provest it would be forced to close its doors by now.

Mr Provest said in State Parliament on Tuesday, October 21, that the hospital was broke and owed three local businesses, including an unidentified Tweed butcher, more than $150,000 for supplies dating back to June.

Yesterday marked a fortnight since Mr Provest first made the claims in Parliament, and he said he was delighted the hospital remained open.

"One of the businesses in question was facing liquidation due to a $70,000 debt brought on by the hospital's late payments," Mr Provest said.

"After the story broke they received a cheque for $20,000 from the North Coast Area Health Service. They are still owed a lot, but it did save them for the time being. Other businesses are still waiting for some payment."

Premier Nathan Rees threw his hat into the mix last week, telling Mr Provest all area health services were expected to pay their bills on time, and to manage within their budgets.

"The current situation of late payments is being addressed, and I have made it clear I want it addressed quickly," Mr Rees said.

Mr Provest said he expected to hear again from the Premier on the situation some time this week.

"I expect there will be a small funds boost for the hospital," he said.

Mr Provest said hospital staff was still worried about the situation.

"They are waiting for the State Government's mini-Budget next week before they spend any money," he said.

North Coast Area Health Service Chief Executive Chris Crawford yesterday declined to comment on the matter, but has previously said Mr Provest's claims were wrong.

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