Pressure is building for the state government to fast-track the multi-million-dollar redevelopment of Tweed Hospital following an outcry from medical staff who say emergency and other units are ‘ridiculously’ overcrowded.
With the state election looming, the issue has been seized on by Tweed’s National Party MP Geoff Provest and his Labor opponent Ron Goodman who both agree work on the staged project to build new wards and operating theatres and car parks should start immediately.
Yesterday, the hospital’s medical staff council spokesman Dr Ian McPhee slammed the government for delays in progressing its planned redevelopment, saying it was affecting all areas of the hospital’s service and operations.
’It’s across the board’, without question… every department from emergency to intensive care, coronary care, pediatrics, obstetrics, the operating theatres are ridiculously overburned, and so it goes on’, he told the ABC.
Dr McPhee said the servicing problems facing the hospital were recognised in both the clinical services plan for the hospital’s redevelopment adopted four years ago and its master plan which was signed off a year ago.
But he said a lack of progress had affected the entire hospital’s current needs.
Meanwhile, Mr Provest told media he would campaign to prioritise the redevelopment of the Tweed Heads hospital ahead of the Lismore District Hospital and the new Byron central Hospital now being built.
The MP slammed the area health board for ‘neglecting’ the Tweed hospital and not making its upgrade ‘number-one priority’, arguing that ‘currently there’s two thirds of the population around the Tweed area’, yet the board’s focus was on Lismore and Byron.
He told the ABC that the Tweed Hospital’s emergency department was busier than Sydney’s (private) St Vincents Hospital.
He said he would try to ‘overturn’ the board’s decision’.
His political opponent Mr Goodman said Tweed Hospital was ‘in crisis’ because of the MPs ’failures’.
‘It is Mr Provest and his National Party government’s neglect that have led directly to the terrible state of affairs now faced by hospital staff and patients,’ Mr Goodman said.