The Beagle Editor,
Recently, it has been noted that the budget for the NSW Metro rail project will blow out by approximately $4.3 billion over a budget of $11.5 - $12.5 billion.
In 2019 the budget for the demolition and rebuild of the Sydney Football Stadium suddenly expanded from $735 million to $828 million. Will it stop there?
In contrast, the NSW Budget for 2019-2020 acknowledged a commitment of $150 million to a new Eurobodalla hospital. However, read the small print.
The NSW Government has promised “commencement of works by 2023”. Not even in the small print is there a mention of guaranteed level 4 services.
There is a disconnection between the understanding of the community of the pre-election promise and the obstinate position of the Ministry for Health which moves the actual commencement date towards another pre-election phase.
One doesn’t need to be a cynic to realise that the febrile activity of health care promises during the period from October, 2018 to March, 2019, from both State and Federal levels of government and opposition representatives was to capture votes.
Commitments ranged from $150 million from the NSW Liberal Party to $200 million from the NSW and Federal Labor opposition including inpatient mental health services. And possibly a set of steak knives!
The tender of $171.6 million for SERH was granted in February 2014 and was funded through the Health and Hospitals Fund program – the Federal Government is providing $160.1 million and $10 million will be provided by the NSW Government along with ongoing staff and operational costs.
The final capital cost was $187 million with ultimately $167 million of Federal funds and $20 million of NSW funds.
With 6 years of CPI growth, the need for a level 4 hospital for a community which has a larger population and a local hospital service which provide more clinical activity than SERH or Goulburn, how can the budgeted amount meet the needs of this development?
I have recently attended a teleconference where a faceless and voiceless number of Executive and Board representatives who do not represent the Eurobodalla demonstrated a lack of inclination or potency to accelerate the development of a single new level 4 hospital for the Eurobodalla despite the recent evidence of our local hospitals’ vulnerability and incapacity to deal with a major casualty event.
This is a situation that faces our medical and nursing staff daily.
The NSW Government Budget Estimates meet next month in Macquarie Street.
Can they get their estimates correct with both the timing and funding of a single new level 4 regional hospital for the Eurobodalla?
Will the SNSWLHD Executive and Board advocate for our community?
Above: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
One is Griffin, The Invisible Man of H G Wells’ novel, a scientist who devoted himself to research into optics and invented a way to change a body’s refractive index to that of air so that it neither absorbs nor reflects light and thus becomes invisible.
And one is the NSW Minister for Health who has not been seen in the Eurobodalla since it has been severely affected by a natural disaster and is still waiting for level 4 medical services.
The Budget Estimates sit from 3rd to 17th of March. The Minister must accelerate the development of a single new level 4 regional hospital in the Eurobodalla as part of our disaster relief. You can write to him or even give him a call.