$48m for Tweed Hospital if Nats re-elected
Update February 10, 10:12am:
Tweed Hospital clinicians have welcomed an announcement of $48m of the $211m needed for an upgrade but warned the expansion must be fully funded to cope with increasing demands.
Deputy Premier Troy Grant, Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Tweed MP Geoff Provest today visited the hospital to announce the funding commitment, if the NSW Liberal and National are re-elected.
Chair of the medical staff council Dr Ian McPhee said the announcement was "the most significant thing to have happened at the hospital since 1973".
But, a commitment made to all three stages of the proposed development was needed, not just stages one and two, as per Mr Crawford's announcement at a Tweed Chamber Business meeting earlier.
Stages one and two include the delivery of expansions to 29 clinical services, such as the intensive care unit, cancer clinic, operating theatres, special care nursery, stroke unit and emergency.
"This is just the start of the redevelopment. In order to cope with increasing patient numbers the project must be fully funded," Dr McPhee said.
Dr Rob Davies director of the emergency department said admitting patients into emergency was dependent on the availability of beds in other wards.
"This is the seed of the money to lay the foundations for the hospital's build ... Any extra funding is gratefully received," Dr Davies said.
"But my concern isn't just the emergency department - the emergency department can't function on it's own.
"The emergency department needs support from the rest of the hospital, because we need to discharge patients to the other wards.
" ... we need the other departments resources adequately so we can also cope with the volumes of patients that we're dealing with."
Asked if there is any commitment for stage three, which includes medical imaging expansion, pharmacy expansion, acute adult mental health inpatient unit, pathology and the maternity assessment unit, the Health Minister said:
"I'm very proud that we have delivered every single one of the promises we made before the last election. We've invested nearly $9b in funding for health infrastructure and nearly every single stage is on track or has been completed," Mrs Skinner said.
"We will never promise anything we can't deliver and we'll never promise something half baked. We need to make sure the planning right to make sure this is a hospital fit for the future," she said.
Mr Grant blamed Labor for the current state of the run down facility, which according to clinicians is at gridlock.
"Regional NSW Health was absolutely left behind by Labor and there has been a regional renaissance and there has been an investment in health and hospital and services," Mr Grant said.
"I know what it's like to represent an area where you can be forgotten and left behind the Tweed will not be forgotten again under a Liberal Nationals government," he said.
Mr Provest acknowledged negotiations had been tough leading up to today's announcement.
"I guess with any negotiations there are times when we may have different objectives, but I think by coming together today we have clearly shown that we are one ... community here," he said.
" ... I thank the doctors for their effort, I thank the local media for their efforts, and there is more work to be done, but as Ian McPhee the doctor pointed out, there are a tremendous amount of changes in the clinical services, we want to make sure we do have the best, but we want to make sure their adaptable into the future."
There is no set date for construction to begin.
Stages one and two were planned for completion in 2017 and 2022, respectively.
Update February 10, 9:15am:
Northern NSW Local Health District CEO has told a Tweed Chamber of Business meeting this morning that the Tweed Hospital is set to receive $48m in funding.
Chris Crawford said because of the critical state of the hospital, stages one and two (of three) will be fast tracked and constructed simultaneously.
Stage one will include a commercial multi-storey carpark resulting in 220 additional new spaces. Patients will have to pay parking fees.
Stage one will also include the delivery of clinical services, including expansions to various wards in the hospital. The decision on which wards will come in March when the Health District Board will meet with Tweed Hospital Clinicians.
Mr Crawford said stage two will include infrastructure and enabling works at a cost of $10-15m.
Initial report February 7:
TWEED MP Geoff Provest is set to make an announcement with Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Deputy Premier Troy Grant on Tuesday morning at the Tweed Hospital.
Tweed hospital medical staff council chair Dr Ian McPhee believed $40million of the $211million needed for the hospital's expansion could be announced.
The head of anaesthetics said the figure was well short of what the hospital needed to resolve bed gridlock in every department.
"Alone, $40million will see non-clinical - so-called enabling works - and only a small number of the direct patient care priorities addressed," Dr McPhee said.
"Without a commitment to fully funding the master plan, there is a very real risk that the Tweed Hospital will return to its status as a forgotten entity, fighting to see each element of the staged plan funded."
Dr McPhee said the plan had been designed to facilitate an orderly ward-by-ward expansion.
"To expect that at each stage, protracted negotiations over funding would be required is simply unacceptable," he said.
Dr McPhee said $40million would only be "gratefully acknowledged" if accompanied "by a guarantee the plan's remaining elements will be funded during the term of the incoming government".
"To expect piecemeal announcements of funding to be well received by the public or by clinicians is to simply demean both the community and its health professionals."
The expansion has three stages that, according to local health district chief executive Chris Crawford, was to "meet the needs of a growing and aging population".