The Lismore Base Hospital.
The Lismore Base Hospital. Cathy Adams

Parliament hears Lismore Hospital struggle with health cuts

THE Northern Star was quoted in New South Wales Parliament as Labor attacked moves to cut $15 billion in Commonwealth funding to the state's health system over 10 years.

Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord called for the Baird Government to oppose the Federal cuts along with the introduction of a $7 Medicare co-payment for visiting a GP.

NSW Health modelling has shown the $7 GP tax would create a 27% per cent increase in emergency department patients who would otherwise see a general practitioner.

Mr Secord said Northern Rivers hospitals would have to take on an extra 40,000 patients a year.

"These people will turn up at emergency departments because they cannot afford Tony Abbott's $7 GP tax," he said.

"Lismore Base Hospital Nurses Association branch secretary Gil Wilson told the Northern Star on October 21 that the hospital would struggle with an extra 7600 patients a year."

Mr Secord also reaffirmed Labor's commitment to keep the planned Byron Central Hospital safe from privatisation if elected to government, even though his party failed to fund its construction when it was in power.

The Baird Government promised $1.5 million in its 2014-15 budget to start building the $80 million hospital.

"The Nationals are taking market soundings for 'private providers to deliver surgical services at the facility'," Mr Secord said.

"State Labor would guarantee that Byron Central Hospital would be a government-run facility providing day-stay procedures such as colonoscopy, endoscopy, orthopaedic and gynaecological services."

Greens Member of the Upper House Jan Barham said Mr Secord was running a scare campaign.

"After all the hard work undertaken by my community, this government has finally made a commitment to deliver that hospital," she said.

"Earlier the Hon. Walt Secord referred to privatisation - a matter raised also by the Labor Government - but this government is delivering that hospital."


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