Construction of a new Tumut hospital will begin next year, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said today, with the state government allocating $50 million to fast-track the long-awaited project.
Ms Berejiklian made the announcement this morning at the 118-year-old hospital, alongside health minister Brad Hazzard and the party’s candidate for Wagga, Julia Ham.
The community has lobbied for decades for a new hospital.
The detail of what the new hospital will look like and the services it will provide are still to be revealed. Planning began last year.
However, it’s expected to be built on the same site as the existing hospital and there are plans to provide for a new Tumut ambulance station in the future.
Mr Hazzard said a clinical services plan had been completed and would be reviewed before a master plan finalised the planning of the project.
“What I would expect is completely new facilities; new operating rooms, new dialysis, new maternity, new emergency, new rehab,” Mr Hazzard said. “This is a fantastic gift for the Tumut community, which they’ve been waiting for.”
The Premier said at least $50m would be invested in the “brand new hospital.”
“This hospital won’t be standing too much longer,” Ms Berjiklian told media gathered in the Tumut Hospital emergency department this morning. “I’m pleased to be investing at least $50m for a brand new hospital.
“This hospital is over a century old and the community has been calling out for this for a long time.”
The premier said the state government’s strong financial position, boosted by the $4.2 billion sale of Snowy Hydro, had allowed the funding to be brought forward for the new Tumut hospital.
Snowy Valleys mayor James Hayes welcomed the announcement.
“It’s been a long time coming and something the council has been advocating a long time for,” he said. “It’s great news.”
A health services plan released by Murrumbidgee Health earlier this year outlined a proposal for the new hospital, which included:
- Enhanced Emergency Department consisting of a resuscitation bay, three general bays, an isolation room, consultation room and a triage room
- 24 inpatient beds including rehabilitation and maternity spaces
- Improved rehabilitation services, including gym
- Operating theatre complex and day surgery
- Shared quiet room for family caring for palliative care patients
- Wellness Centre with education and group therapy services incorporating:
- enhanced community health, mental health and drug and alcohol services
- Outpatient services including rehabilitation, specialist clinics, GP services, wound care, and dental
- Pathology with on-site laboratory
That document pointed out the challenges of attracting a skilled health workforce to Tumut and former surgeon Geoff Pritchard has expressed similar concerns.
The health service plan noted just one in three people from Tumut requiring hospital treatment received their treatment in Tumut, with the majority going to Wagga.
Mr Hazzard said the rebuild will mean more local patients can receive the care they need closer to home, which also reduces the stress on family and caregivers.
“An added bonus will be that new facilities may also assist in attracting skilled health professionals to move to the region as has often been the case in other regional areas when hospitals have been redeveloped,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Unlike Labor, who made promises in health and never delivered, you only need to look at our $431 million redevelopment of Wagga Wagga Base Hospital to know that a rebuild of Tumut will soon be a reality.”
Liberal candidate for Wagga Wagga Julia Ham said she had long been fighting for the upgrade of Tumut Hospital.
“If elected, ensuring the rebuild of the Tumut Hospital is delivered as soon as possible will be one of my top priorities. Locals tell me how important top quality healthcare is to them,” she said.