Hospital promise hold-up ‘not good enough’

Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr has labelled further Tumut Hospital delays as “unacceptable”.

It follows the Deputy Premier John Barilaro’s visit to the Wagga Wagga electorate this week, where it was revealed the promised redevelopment of the 119-year-old building would not likely go ahead this year.

The comments of Mr Barilaro contradict Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s by-election promise that the long-awaited works would begin in 2019.

Mr Barilaro on Tuesday reassured the media the upgrade would happen, but it would take time.

He referred to the $224 million face-lift planned for Griffith hospital, which was announced before Christmas last year. Mr Barilaro said it took 18 months to get to that point, with funding having been allocated in 2017. This comes despite the original pledge having been made in the 2014 Murray by-election.

“I think this is a real concern,” Dr McGirr said.

“It worries me that the government is referencing Griffith; because, let’s face it, the Griffith Base Hospital has been delayed and delayed.

“I am calling on the NSW State Government once more to fulfill its promise and to begin the redevelopment work at Tumut Hospital this year and as soon as possible.”

Dr McGirr said he had repeatedly and publically requested a timeline be provided to reassure Tumut and surrounding communities of the development process moving forward.

In a statement, Dr McGirr said these were the facts:

  • For more than two decades, the Tumut community has pushed for new hospital infrastructure. Click here for more

  • In 2017, the clinical services plan was completed. This is according to Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

  • In June, 2017 funding was announced for business planning to go ahead. This was announced by the former Member for Wagga Wagga. Click here for more

  • In August, 2018 Premier Gladys Berejiklian said work would begin on the $50 million Tumut Hospital redevelopment in 2019. Click here for more

  • During Question Time in Parliament House, Member for Wagga Wagga called on the government to recommit to its promises and to make project timelines publically available. Click here for more

  • In December, 2018 Murrumbidgee Local Health District assured Dr McGirr planning was underway, following a timeline request.  

  • December’s mid-year budget review did not reference Tumut Hospital. Click here for more

  • On Tuesday the Deputy Premier made reference to the long-term delays in Griffith, when speaking on Tumut Hospital plans.

“I don’t see why work can’t start in 2019,” Dr McGirr said. “The Premier said she expects that, I expect that and the community expect that will happen.”

The Member for Wagga Wagga said it felt as if his electorate was being fobbed off.

“Mr Barilaro’s words are like a patronising pat on the head saying, ‘everything will be okay’,” Dr McGirr said.

“And we now have a problem in Tumut, where there are no birthing services.

“We know there are difficulties with recruiting medical staff and health professionals, but that is why new hospital infrastructure is absolutely critical and cannot wait.

END

For immediate publication.

Authorised by Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr on Wednesday, January 30.


Steff Wills