Opposition leader Luke Foley has announced a massive $211 million commitment to redevelop The Tweed Hospital, without the need to sell off the state’s electricity assets.
Mr Foley made the announcement during a visit to the hospital this morning with Labor’s Tweed candidate Ron Goodman and shadow health spokesman Walt Secord.
The election promise trumps the National Party’s $48 commitment made by health minister Jillian Skinner during a visit last month.
Mr Foley said the Tweed was ‘one of the busiest hospitals in the state’ servicing Tweed, Byron and the southern Gold Coast and Labor funding recognised this, but the coalition’s $48 million would go nowhere to rectifying its deep-seated problems.
Ans he emphasised the investment in the hospital would not be dependent upon the sale of the electricity network.
The funding would deliver stages 1, 2 and 3 of the redevelopment with upgrades to the emergency department, 140 extra beds and the enhancement of specialist units.
There will also be more clinical services such as ICU and cancer treatment.
The redevelopment will include:
- Upgrades to the emergency department;
- Enhancement of specialist units and ward expansions with up to 140 extra beds;
- Up to 22 extra beds in the renal dialysis ward;
- Expansions to clinical services, such as the intensive care unit, cancer clinic, operating theatres, special care nursery, stroke unit, medical imaging and pharmacy; and
- Geriatric evaluation and maintenance beds.
Mr Foley said the hospital experienced consistently high attendances in its emergency department and long waiting lists.
‘Last year The Tweed Hospital Emergency Department had more than 46,000 attendances. Demand for services will only continue to rise in line with population growth and ageing.
‘The Tweed is expected to grow by more than 2,300 residents every year for the next 16 years.
‘The Tweed Hospital needs to expand its facilities and services to meet the needs of the region’s growing population.’
Mr Foley said the commitment was fully costed and funded and that Labor was ‘investing $1 billion more than the Liberals and Nationals in our schools and hospitals – and we are doing it without privatising the electricity network.
‘In addition Labor will protect the billions of dollars in revenue our profitable electricity network generate which helps pay for nurses, teachers and police.
Mr Goodman said that earlier this week ‘the latest health figures revealed that patients at The Tweed Hospital are waiting 264 days for ear, nose and throat surgery and children are waiting 304 days to have tonsils removed’.
But sitting Tweed MP Geoff Provest described the offer as ‘an empty promise’.
‘There is one burning question that remains unanswered from today’s announcement – where is the money coming from?
‘Our $48 million commitment is real money that is actually budgeted, and will commence the stages 1 and 2 redevelopment to upgrade the emergency department, enhancement wards and specialist units and build a new multi-storey carpark,’ Mr Provest said.
‘Labor is trying to pull the wool over Tweed voters’ eyes with lies that our $48 million commitment to The Tweed Hospital is tied to the lease of electricity assets,’ he added.
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