Letter to the Editor from Stephen Bromhead MP Member for Myall Lakes regarding the Petition for vital hospital upgrade story recently published.
I read with interest the item in Myall Coast News (27 August 2015) “Petition for vital hospital upgrade”. I want to correct an impression that may have been left with your readers about the funding for the upgrade of the Manning Base Hospital.
Contrary to statements by the Member for Port Stephens, the upgrade of the hospital is a firm commitment from the NSW Government with stage I to be completed within this term of parliament, which ends in March 2019. In accordance with that commitment $1.35 million was set aside in this year’s state budget to undertake further planning and technical aspects of the project.
To be included in the State Budget means that various preliminary actions had to be undertaken, including the Clinical Services Plan and the Master Building Plan were completed by the hospital and Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD).
No construction can commence until all planning and engineering work is completed by Infrastructure NSW which is the state authority designated to undertake the project. When that is finished, further funding for the project will be made available with the aim to finish stage I by 2019.
Securing a Budget commitment is highly competitive process as there are many regional hospitals in NSW which were ignored during the 16 years of Labor government.
These are material facts, which have been in the public domain for months. I have been working closely with the hospital board, the hospital’s staff specialists council and HNELHD and they understand the funding model.
There are just a few people who are trying to make the upgrade a political issue, and now including the Member for Port Stephens. Upgrading the hospital remains a major priority for me and I continue to take a strong personal interest in the project.
What is clear is that over the past four and a half years, with the appointment of new medical staff, including specialists and nurses, we have new levels of experience and training in our region. The upgrade of the hospital will provide staff and patients with a facility that will more than meet their expectations.
(Stephen Bromhead MP, Member for Myall Lakes)