The NSW Government has announced a new $530million hospital will be built to replace the existing facility.
The NSW Government has announced a new $530million hospital will be built to replace the existing facility. SCOTT POWICK

New $534 million Tweed Hospital gets green light

UPDATE 3PM: Doctors and nurses have welcomed the promise of a new hospital and say it is a facility for Byron Bay and Murwillumbah as much as the Tweed.

Dr Rob Davies, Tweed Medical Staff Council Co-chair, said the new $534 million hospital would provide medical services currently unavailable in the region.

"On behalf of the medical staff council, I would like to say a very big thank you to the New South Wales Government," he said.

"We're obviously very grateful and very excited at this funding, it is significant, and from a medical staff council point of view we're very hopeful that this will provide the services for the community that we've been striving to provide and that it will provide them not just for the Tweed, but for the Murwillumbah and Byron Shire as well.

"We need a hospital in the Tweed Shire that will actually provide a lot more services than we can today, so the services need to grow, that was part of the clinical services plan that we developed, and that was to try and keep as many people as close to home and provide the services for those communities close to home, so our hope is that this funding will go a long way to be able to deliver that."

While local doctors and nurses praised the announcement, Labor launched an attack, saying they hoped it was not "another National Party stalling trick".

"The Nationals have been twisting and turning for the last six years," Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said. 

"Every budget the community gets excited about a new promise and then nothing happens."

"The North Coast is expecting a population explosion and deserves a proper hospital to meet the community's needs."

Richmond MP Justine Elliot questioned the timing of the news.

"In the last three years alone, we have seen the promises go from an upgrade to a revised upgrade to a possible greenfield site and now a new hospital," she said.

"There have been so many twists and turns; it is no wonder the North Coast community is sceptical about National Party promises on the hospital."

"The Nationals have ignored the needs of the community for too long and now on the eve of an election, they are desperately trying to undo their years of neglect."

Tweed Mayor Katie Milne said the region should expect to benefit from jobs growth related to the project.

"A $534 million investment to the region will also bring a raft of economic benefits which will result in significant jobs being created over the four years of construction, as well as the ongoing employment which will be created through increased beds, medical units and the varying services required to support a hospital of this size," Cr Milne said.

 

EARLIER: THE NSW Government has today announced a brand new Tweed Hospital will be built, in what is expected to be the biggest infrastructure project ever in the shire.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Health Minister Brad Hazzard joined Tweed MP Geoff Provest at the existing Tweed Hospital this morning to announce the new package.

Planning for the $534 million project, which will be included in next week's State Budget, will get underway soon but is not expected to be completed for several years.

Additional resourcing will be injected into the existing facility in the interim to provide new pop-up theatres and wards to alleviate the strain.

Today's announcement follows years of campaigning by local medical staff, concerned the aging infrastructure of the current facility is not capable of meeting the capacity of the growing region.

Mr Barilaro said the new hospital would greatly improve health services for the region, which is forecast to grow by more than 40% to 128,000 people by 2031.

"The Tweed Shire is the latest area to benefit from the NSW Government's pledge to enhance regional health services as part of a record hospital-building boom," Mr Barilaro said.

Mr Hazzard said that senior clinicians consulted during the planning process and lobbying by Mr Provest helped form the decision to build a new hospital in the area, given the constraints of the current site.

"Local member Geoff Provest has been lobbying and advocating for the Tweed community and the Tweed's nursing and medical workforce for world-class facilities," Mr Hazzard said.

"At Geoff's invitation I've met with the Medical Staff Council at Tweed Hospital to hear exactly what they need to continue delivering excellent patient care - and this new hospital will deliver just that."

Mr Provest said this was the biggest news in the Tweed for decades.

"This is fabulous news, it's the biggest news in the Tweed in decades," he said.

"It's taken a Liberals and Nationals Government, which I am part of, to recognise the needs of the Tweed and I am so proud of what we are going to achieve here.

"A new hospital for the Tweed area means patients in our region will get a welcoming, modern facility that provides the best care for the future."

Some highlights of the new hospital will likely include:

  • more overnight beds
  • more operating theatres
  • a larger emergency department
  • an integrated cancer care service
  • enhanced cardiac care services

An Expression of Interest and site selection process to identify the most suitable site for the new hospital will commence shortly.

Over the coming months, the project team will work with staff and clinicians to understand how services will be delivered at the new hospital, to determine the project design and construction program, which should be finalised mid-next year.



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