'New hospital will be built by 2022'
HEALTH Infrastructure has denied claims the new Tweed Valley Hospital won't be completed until 2025.
According to the 2018-19 NSW State Budget papers, $582.1 million in total has been allocated to the new Tweed Valley Hospital and integrated ambulance services.
The project is budgeted until 2025.
Of that total, $50.9 million has been allocated towards the new hospital for this financial year, which began on July 1, with $10.3 million spent on the project to date.
The $582.1 million includes $48 million for "interim upgrade works at the existing Tweed Hospital", leaving $534 million for the new hospital.
The $48 million, which was pledged in 2015, will fund more hospital beds and two new operating theatres at the current hospital in Tweed Heads.
Twelve of those beds were installed at the hospital on Friday.
But the 2025 completion date has caused confusion and anger among members of the community, who have previously been told by the State Government the hospital would be finished by 2022.
Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord told the Tweed Daily News the State Government was "lying about every aspect of the Tweed hospital".
"If you ask me to believe the Health Minister, Geoff Provest, or the Treasury official who released the budget papers, I trust the Treasury and they say it won't be built until 2025," he said.
But a Health Infrastructure spokesperson said the 2025 date in the budget papers was for "financial completion, not construction completion".
"The new $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital is targeted to be completed in 2022 and operational in 2023," they said.
"The budget papers represent financial completion, not construction completion. Expenses associated with the project do not immediately stop once the construction program finishes."
It is understood the hospital project will have a defect liability period to ensure funds are available until 2025, should they be required for maintenance and other expenses associated with moving into a new building.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest told the Tweed Daily News he expected the hospital would be "a four-year build".
He said claims made on social media that the hospital would have 1400 beds and be twice the size of the Gold Coast University Hospital were "false and misleading".
"We are currently looking at 450 beds and down the track as the population grows we have the ability to expand," he said.
"It's just good planning for the future, nothing has ever been said about 1400 beds."
A Health Infrastructure spokesperson said the new hospital's master plan would "incorporate expansion scenarios".
"The master plan will also make allowance for a range of complementary health-related uses to support the development of a health and education campus over time," they said.
A spokesperson for Gold Coast University Hospital said it had 934 beds, while the Robina Hospital precinct has 454 beds.