Crisis casts its shadow
Despite the hospital’s bright future
THE New South Wales Opposition has labelled the allocation in this week’s budget of $2.5 million to the new Tweed Hospital as a “cruel hoax”.
NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said the community had been deceived after just a week earlier being promised a new half-a-billion-dollar greenfield site hospital.
The State Government last week announced $534 million would be spent on a new greenfield hospital in the Tweed but budget papers this week showed just $2.5 million had been set aside in the 2017–18 financial year.
“We’ve all been deceived over the last fortnight about spending on hospitals. When you look at the budget today we learn that none of the upgrades will be delivered until the mid-2020s – it’s a cruel hoax,” Mr Secord said.
“I will be a grandfather by the time the Tweed Hospital is completed.”
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the figure was accurate but claimed it did not consider the overall budget.
“The $2.5 million is for planning but what he’s not saying is in the whole budget there is $534 million,” he said.
“The clinicians have got to finish off the clinical care plan, which will take about 12 months to do.”
Mr Provest said he expected a new greenfield site to be found and bought within a year, with additional money available from treasury if needed.
The Tweed Hospital Medical Staff Council welcomed the budget announcement and confirmed planning costs were expected to be the major outlay in the next 12 months.
However MSC co-chair Dr Mike Lindley-jones said the hospital desperately needed the $48 million previously promised to the existing site to address the current crisis.
“We need those temporary measures for the hospital,” he said.
“The plans is to put in two new theatres, an extra ward, four HDU beds, increase the size of the emergency department.
“This is because we’ve left it so late to do the rebuild, which will take five years, and we can’t get through the next five years without more space in our hospital.
“So we’re going to put temporary structures in the car park. That is those pop-up measures that we anticipate being in place for five years.”
LOOKING AHEAD: Dr Robert Davies, Dr Sarah Limbourn, Dr Mike Lindley-jones and Dr Alasdair Arthur from the Tweed Hospital, which was allocated just $2.5 million in the 2017–18 State Budget.