MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has today confirmed a meeting with Health Minister Jillian Skinner next week to discuss funding for the Armidale and Inverell Hospital redevelopments.
Mr Marshall said he would use the meeting, set down for next Thursday morning in Sydney, to press the case for the critical upgrades to health infrastructure across the region.
“I will be taking forward very strong cases for both redevelopments, along with planning documents and thousands of letters and emails of support from the Armidale and Inverell communities,” he said.
“The Minister will see that we take the standard of our health facilities extremely seriously in the Northern Tablelands and that it is well and truly time for a commitment of funds to improve the health infrastructure and services in Armidale and Inverell.”
Mr Marshall said the Armidale Rural Referral Hospital was ageing facility in desperate need of a major redevelopment.
“In April last year the Minister announced $400,000 and tasked us with finalising the planning for this redevelopment,” he said. “This work is now completed and the project is shovel ready, all we need is the $60 million plus to get construction underway – it’s time for the Minister to ‘show us the money’.”
Mr Marshall said the proposed redevelopment included a refurbished emergency department, new operating theatres, critical care services, inpatient beds and medical ward, in addition to minor upgrades of other sections.
In Inverell, a community campaign launched by Mr Marshall in December has already netter over 1,600 signed letters of support for the redevelopment and they’re still rolling in.
“I want to thank the community and encourage for the support of the proposal to redevelop the local hospital and to encourage people to keep signing the letters,” he said.
“The Inverell district’s population is growing and this is placing added demands on our hospital, which is showing the signs of age and a lack of major capital investment over a long period of time.”
Hunter New England Area Health has scoped out the clinical priorities for the hospital and Mr Marshall said he was seeking in excess of $20 million for the total redevelopment which would include a new and larger renal dialysis unit, enhancement the hospital’s operating theatres, acute care, maternity and pediatric services, as well as improved inpatient and community health facilities.