"We urge the Government to publicly confirm that the plans for Stage 1 of the redevelopment of Tweed Hospital will be fully funded in the near future" - Dr Mary Langcake (pictured). Photo: contributed.

Health heavyweights back hospital’s upgrade

THREE of the nation's most powerful health organisations have added their voice to the campaign to upgrade Tweed Hospital.

The NSW Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Australian Medical Association and the Nurses union have backed the hospital's senior clinicians' campaign in conjunction with the Tweed Daily News.

Patient increases were placing already overcrowded facilities under even more pressure, said college chair Dr Mary Langcake.

"The Emergency Department no longer has the capacity to cope with current and projected activity, having half the recommended working space required for a caseload which is the busiest in regional NSW.

"The number of operating theatres is insufficient for the combined elective and emergency workload, which leads to blow-outs in the waiting times for the community and an inability to meet National Elective Surgery Targets."

Dr Langcake urged the state government to push ahead with the first part of the redevelopment so that an increase of operating theatres, planned in stage two, can go ahead.

"We urge the Government to publicly confirm that the plans for Stage one of the redevelopment of Tweed Hospital will be fully funded in the near future, to facilitate progress with urgently needed capital works," said Dr Langcake.

"With an election due in just a few months, this would confirm the Government's ongoing commitment to providing equitable access to health care, regardless of where people live in NSW."

The AMA's president Dr Saxon Smith echoed clinicians when he said funding had never kept pace with population growth in the Tweed.

"With the greatly-improved availability of specialist medical staff, regional hospitals, including the Tweed Hospital, should be funded to ... ensure that regional communities have access to the full range of health services that can reasonably be expected."

Nurses and midwives have supported the campaign, said Nola Scilinato from the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association.

"Anecdotally there is a lot of support for the (Heal Our Hospital) campaign and members on the ground recognise that the hospital is at full capacity and bursting at the seams."

She said the union was fighting for an extra nurse into the Tweed's emergency department.

The support comes on the back of key talks by hospital medical staff council chair Dr Ian McPhee and Tweed MP Geoff Provest with the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

Mrs Skinner has hinted at an announcement "in due course", with a spokesman adding that it would be in "the context of an election".



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