NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord and Country Labor candidate for Wagga Wagga Dan Hayes made the public commitment to the Tumut Hospital Redevelopment on Wednesday.
The Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and NSW Health Infrastructure held an information session on the plan on in Wynyard Street in Tumut last Thursday and the plan is on display for further comment until April 26.
In addition to the current scheduled redevelopment, Labor would work to attract more anaesthetists and obstetricians to the region and undertake programs to improve training for staff in Indigenous issues and cultural awareness.
Mr Secord said the Liberals have neglected Tumut Hospital and the number of general surgeries has significantly declined over the last eight years. It has decreased from 192 surgeries in 2011-12 to 74 surgeries in 2017-18.
In addition, in 2017–18, 5,861 patients presented to Tumut Hospital emergency department – and 1,925 patients were admitted to Tumut Hospital during the same period.
Tumut Hospital is a 30-bed hospital with 16 acute care beds, four medical, four day surgery beds and four maternity beds, one palliative care and one Pediatric. It also has a 24-hour accident and emergency department with tele-health facilities.
“Tumut Hospital is almost 120 years old and is in a state of disrepair. The redevelopment is needed to due to the neglect by the Liberals and Nationals and the previous Liberal MP, Daryl Maguire – who resigned in disgrace after damning evidence in the ICAC,” Mr Hayes said.
“The Liberals and Nationals have the wrong priorities; they have presided over a health and hospital system that lurches from crisis to crisis – and they have neglected rural and regional health – especially smaller communities like Tumut.
“Make no mistake, the Liberals have neglected Tumut Hospital and they have reduced services. The independent data from the Federal Government confirms this.
“Labor will invest in regional facilities like Tumut Hospital – rather than splurging $2.2 billion on Sydney stadiums.”
Mr Hayes said: “Tumut Hospital is under enormous pressure and it has been neglected by the Liberals. NSW has a two-tier health and hospital system under the Liberals and the Nationals, where regional families are forced to wait longer for treatment than patients in Sydney.
“Labor will invest in Tumut Hospital and will ensure that locals can have quality health care in their local community rather than having to travel to Wagga Wagga for treatment.”
Nationals Wagga Wagga candidate Mackenna Powell has described Labor’s commitment as “embarrassing.”
“The Labor Party has made a habit of copying the Liberal and National party policies throughout this campaign, but this commitment is truly embarrassing,” she said.
“The $50 million redevelopment of Tumut Hospital is already underway, with the masterplan being unveiled last Thursday.
“The truth is the NSW Liberals and Nationals are spending record amounts of funding on health infrastructure. The Liberals and Nationals in NSW have built or upgraded more than 50 regional hospitals, including $452 million for Wagga Wagga Base Hospital.
“The Liberals and Nationals have also committed to the largest ever health workforce boost, which will deliver more than 270 additional medical staff to the Murrumbidgee LHD.
“Labor’s own policy for more nurses is less about patient safety and more about satisfying their union mates. Moreover, it’s going to be funded by a car tax that’s going to disproportionately impact regional residents and our local car dealers.
“In contrast, we will carry out our commitments without increasing taxes. We can do this because we have our priorities right and can balance the budget.”