Initial investigations show that the areas north of Moruya or south-east of Moruya are likely areas for the new hospital with sites within these two areas being explored
The NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard announced today that the NSW Government will invest an extra $50 million to the new regional hospital for Eurobodalla bringing the total investment by the NSW government to $200 million. The welcome news came as a surprise to Dr Michael Holland, a strong campaigner for a new Level 4 facility for the Eurobodalla. The announcement in Moruya also heard the reiteratation of the commitment to a Level 4 hospital and its ancilliary services by the new SNSWLHD Chief Executive, Margaret Bennett. Whilst there was no mention today of the urgent need for long term mental health provisions to be recognised and provided for in the new hospital there were several mentions of the Moruya TAFE in the context of a possible site and the link that might be developed between provision of health and of health education. Invited to attend today's announcement, Dr Holland told The Beagle that "the gate has been opened for innovative things to be planned by other health providers such as not for profit social enterprise initiatives around mental health and NDIS." "We can't forget that sitting in the wings of the new hospital are the Federal Government commitments to local health education and to a radiotherapy facility with both requiring the hospital to be built before the Federal commitment can be set in motion", Dr Holland said. “While I welcome any additional funding towards the new Eurobodalla Hospital, what we need is a Level 4 facility. What we need is an acute mental health inpatient facility – and we need it now,”
The Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips said of the announcement “I have long been calling for the NSW and Federal Governments to include funding for mental health inpatient beds as part of this hospital’s upgrade and I want to see the government take this issue seriously. This hospital has taken too long to get off the ground. The community rightly wants to make sure we have a facility that is fit-for-purpose and will provide the ongoing health support we will need into the future.”
Above: Margaret Bennett-Chief Executive NSW Southern Local Health District, Dr Michael Holland and Lisa Kennedy-GM Eurobodalla and Queanbeyan Health Services. Photo: Annie Clarke In making the announcement via a media release (rather than attending the press call in person) the Health Minister Hazzard said that extensive community consultation has resulted in a Clinical Services Plan for the new Eurobodalla Hospital which will deliver a first-class hospital.
“A site is now being selected for the new hospital in consultation with stakeholders and will consider a range of factors, including accessibility, proximity to local infrastructure and environmental impacts,” Mr Hazzard said.
It is understood that the site selection process will be undertaken shortly and that initial investigations show that the areas north of Moruya or south-east of Moruya are likely areas for the new hospital with sites within these two areas being explored with consideration to key criteria such as road access and ensuring linkage to the future bypass, avoiding flood and bushfires zones, and ensuring close proximity to the airport.
As part of the planning, Health Infrastructure will be working closely with Southern NSW Local Health District and other government agencies, including Transport for NSW and Department of Planning Industry and Environment.
The Member for Bega, Andrew Constance said of the announcement that the total $200 million investment "will ensure a sustainable, modern and purpose-built facility to support the community’s needs.
“The new Eurobodalla Hospital will utilise the latest health care solutions and models of care to deliver patient-centred health services closer to home,” Mr Constance said.
“This additional funding will deliver a health facility for the local community which is adaptable and resilient against future climatic events such as the devastating bushfires over the last summer. Our residents and health care workers deserve the best and that’s what we’re going to deliver for our region.
“The $200 million investment for construction will see the Eurobodalla receive one of the highest funded regional hospital projects in the state,” Mr Constance said.
“The proposed sites are within the Moruya area, providing easy links to Batemans Bay, Narooma and surrounding villages, with Health Infrastructure to commence discussions with land owners and adjoining land holders."