Despite its determination to tighten the purse strings, the federal government has found $60 million towards the redevelopment of Lismore Base Hospital in the upcoming federal budget.
Health minister Tanya Plibersek will be in the Northern Rivers today spruiking the funding and announcing an additional allocation of $2.5 million for St Vincents Private Hospital.
The $60 million will go towards the long-awaited stage three of Lismore Base Hospital, which includes expansion of the emergency department, improved renal dialysis facilities and improved primary care facilities.
The $2.5 million given to St Vincents will assist it in reducing operation waiting lists by upgrading two operating theatres providing specialist surgery and refurbishing an endoscopy unit.
‘This funding is coming up in Tuesday’s budget but because I’m on the North Coast today and because Janelle (Saffin, Page MP) has been campaigning so hard for it I was able to get permission to make this announcement today,’ the minister told ABC radio this morning.
She said the programs were shovel-ready and the funding would be available immediately following the budget announcement on Tuesday.
The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that a new radiation oncologist has been appointed to the North Coast Cancer Institute, also based in Lismore.
Dr Patrick Dwyer is the first radiation oncologist appointed to the newly developed centre, with the result that cancer patients in the Tweed-Byron area now have better access to quality multidisciplinary care within the public health system.
Associate Professor Tom Shakespeare, Director of NCCI said, ‘multidisciplinary clinics are recommended as providing the highest quality of care for patients diagnosed with cancer. These clinics allow for a comprehensive discussion of patient care and needs, which streamlines access to multiple opinions in one sitting. The clinic improves access to quality of care and communication between specialists and the treating team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.’