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Labor commits $202 million to better Eurobodalla health services

By Ian Campbell 5 February 2019
Fiona Phillips, Michael Daley, Leanne Atkinson, Mike Kelly, and Bill Shorten in Moruya. Photo: Supplied.

Fiona Phillips, Michael Daley, Leanne Atkinson, Mike Kelly, and Bill Shorten in Moruya. Photo: Supplied.

The tit for tat of the State and Federal election campaigns has delivered at $202 million health commitment for the Eurobodalla today.

NSW Labor Leader, Michael Daley, and Federal Labor Leader, Bill Shorten, have announced that together they will fund a new hospital for the shire, not only matching the earlier commitment from the NSW Liberals but adding a further $52 million.

While the bulk of the funds, $200 million, will be used for the new facility, $2 million from the NSW Budget has been allocated to improve health services at Batemans Bay and Moruya Hospitals while the new facility is built.

Under Labor, the new Eurobodalla hospital will include:

• A state of the art emergency department;
• Operating theatres;
• Maternity and paediatric services;
• Pathology services;
• Radiology services including X-ray, ultrasound and CT scanning;
• Palliative care;
• A helipad;
• Up to 20 mental health beds;
• Community drug and alcohol services;
• A rehabilitation unit.

The construction cost of the new hospoital will be shared between the two levels of government, $175 million from a NSW Labor Government, $25 million from a Commonwealth Labor Government.

Construction of the new hospital will begin within the first term of a Daley Government, with Labor committing to consult extensively with the community to determine the best site for the new hospital.

“Andrew Constance and the Berejiklian Liberal Government have downgraded Eurobodalla hospital services and have forced patients to travel hours for basic procedures,” Mr Daley says

The would-be Premier claims Batemans Bay and Moruya Hospitals now perform fewer elective surgery procedures than they did when the Liberals came to office in 2011.

Mr Daley says, there has been a 19% decrease in the number of elective surgeries completed at Batemans Bay Hospital and a 16% decrease in the number of elective surgeries completed at Moruya Hospital over 8 years.

The two Labor leaders were joined in Moruya by their Shadow Health Ministers Catherine King (Federal) and Walt Secord (State), along with local candidates for the State seat of Bega, Leanne Atkinson and the Federal candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, as well as the Member for Eden Monaro, Mike Kelly.

“I’ve met with local nurses who have stressed to me that there are immediate concerns that need to be addressed during the construction phase of the new hospital,”  Ms Atkinson says.

“A Daley Labor Government will provide an additional $2 million to the local health service to help address these concerns.”

When it comes to the long-term future of the current facilities at Moruya and Batemans Bay, Ms Atkinson says Labor will consult with local health professionals and the community.

Member for Bega, Andrew Constance and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, at Moruya's Quarry Park. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Member for Bega, Andrew Constance and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, at Moruya’s Quarry Park in October 2018 announcing $150 million for a new Eurobodalla Hospital. Photo: Ian Campbell.

In October, Member for Bega, Andrew Constance and NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian announced a re-elected Liberal Government will build a $150 million facility to replace the existing services. With construction to start within the next term of government.

“We are looking forward to getting cracking and building this,” Ms Berejiklian said at the time.

The Community Reference Group who is contributing to the design and functionality of the new facility is already at work.

No location has been selected under the Liberal plan either, Mr Constance saying, “We have got to find a substantial site, one that can be built on in 50 years time, we don’t want a landlocked site.”

An earlier petition lead by Moruya Obstetrician Dr Michael Holland attracted over 3,000 signatures and asked that the hospital be situated in an equitable location, one that all residents can access fairly.

Labor candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips says, “While the NSW Liberals have also recognised the need for a new Eurobodalla Hospital, they have woefully underfunded the project, with fears the planned hospital will exclude inpatient mental health services.”

“This is a slap in the face for a region that faces mental health and alcohol and other drug challenges.”

NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard says the more than $150 million budget already allocated for the facility reflects the clinical needs of the community and the advice of local doctors.

“This considered, thorough consultation process has been tossed aside by the Labor leaders, who have had absolutely no involvement in it,” Mr Hazzard says.

“The objective determinations by NSW health experts in the health infrastructure agency, along with the opinion of the community and clinicians, will rightly determine the site.”

Election day for the NSW Parliament is March 23, no date has been set yet for the Federal contest.

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