Health budget blow-out
TWEED MP Geoff Provest has vowed to fight to get extra money for the redevelopment of the Tweed Hospital following a shocking budget blow-out projecting the cost could double.
NSW Health Infrastructure has found expansions to the cancer, surgical and renal wards could cost up to $90 million – almost double the estimated $48 million –following updated economical modelling to the hospital’s redevelopment plan.
The NSW Government pledged $48 million for Stage One of the hospital’s upgrade just prior to the election in March 2015.
But doctors have now launched a fresh campaign targeting Mr Provest and are calling on him to plead the hospital’s case for more funding before the Health Minister.
Doctors are lobbying for the additional funds to be committed in this year’s State Budget, expected in June, along with a promise to fund the entire redevelopment, previously valued at $211 million in 2013.
The demands were made on Friday when Mr Provest fronted a high-level Medical Staff Council meeting, including 20 heads of departments.
Intensive care unit director and Medical Staff Council chairman Dr Mike Lindley-Jones warned that the quality of health services would diminish in the face of the Tweed’s booming population growth.
“In 2011 we developed a Clinical Services Plan which was due to be implemented in 2016 but hasn’t started,” Dr Lindley-Jones said.
“We’re advocating to the minister that rather than cutting back on clinical services, the funding should be increased to whatever is needed to achieve the services required for our population.
“We’re asking our MP and politicians to support the population of the Tweed and advocate for what is the largest organisation in (Mr Provest’s) constituency.
“We’re not making a complaint. We just see this as part of the process, and hoping the government will do the right thing and commit to Stage One, no matter what it will cost, and the next stages will also be approved.”
Mr Provest said he would meet with NSW Health for “clarification on the alleged budget blow-out”.
“It wasn’t until I got to this meeting (on Friday) that I’ve heard about it. I’ll be lobbying very hard for (the funds) to be allocated,” he said.
“If it costs more, than we’ll the need it, especially considering the recent announcement (of Tweed being a regional city).”