Tweed Hospital still on critical list

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

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

Yesterday marked a fortnight since Mr Provest first made the claims in parliament, and he was delighted the hospital had been able to stay 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."

Mr Provest said while he was happy with the progress the hospital had made since the businesses had approached him, it wasn't over yet.

"There is still more to be done," he said.

New South Wales 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," Mr Provest said.

"If that is the case it will not fully satisfy me."

Mr Provest said hospital staff were still worried over the situation.

"There is still a great deal of concern there. They are waiting for the state government's mini-budget next week before they spend any money," he said.

According to Mr Provest, 14 intensive care monitors more than 12 years old are in need of replacement.

"They do not make spare parts for them any more. Something needs to be done."

North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford yesterday declined to comment on the matter, but had previously stated Mr Provest's claims were incorrect.

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