A prominent health advocacy group is calling on the NSW Premier to deliver what he promised for the redevelopment of Gunnedah Hospital.

Gunnedah PaediatRic And Maternity Support (PRAMS) founder and committee member Amber Donoghue said the state leader needs to face the music and explain to the community why the Gunnedah build was selected for the downsizing.

“Chris Minns visited Gunnedah last year and promised PRAMS that if elected, Labor would deliver the hospital development as planned. Have you scheduled another visit to look us in the eye again and explain why that has changed, Premier?” Ms Donoghue said.

Recently it was revealed the government had significantly scaled back redevelopment plans for the hospital.

Parts of the Gunnedah upgrade no longer expected to be delivered includes new oncology, renal dialysis, upgraded theatre and day surgery, medical imaging, plant room and community health facilities.

“Escalating construction costs” were cited as reasons for the change in plans.

But the PRAMS group, which has successfully raised funds for many facilities at the hospital, said the government is treating the people of Gunnedah like second-class citizens at the expense of its city-based constituency.

“It is crucial to emphasise that the health needs of our residents are equally important as those in metropolitan areas,” Ms Donoghue said.

“Regrettably, the actions of the Labor government seem to suggest otherwise and it is simply not good enough,” Ms Donoghue said.

“Labor’s current position not only undermines the well-being of our community but also sends a disheartening message about the value placed on our health and welfare.

“It is our hope that the Labor government reconsiders its approach and delivers the original hospital redevelopment plan, as the Gunnedah community, surrounding towns and villages, rightfully deserve.”

Gunnedah Shire Council delegates recently met with the NSW Minister for Regional Health, Ryan Park, to highlight how the community was being “short-changed” despite a critical need for health services.

The minister told council that its concerns would be taken on board for further discussion with Treasury ahead of the state budget in September.

The Gunnedah Hospital downsizing comes as the NSW government undertakes a new inquiry to examine the effectiveness of recent actions implemented to address staff recruitment and retention, workplace culture, and funding for agencies, programs and incentives in the health sector.

The Select Committee on Remote, Rural and Regional Health has adopted an inquiry that will examine how recommendations made in a 2022 Legislative Council (LC) committee inquiry are being carried out.

“The committee wants to know what progress has been made by the government and NSW Health in implementing the recommendations since last year’s inquiry, and any challenges that have been experienced as part of this process,” Dr McGirr said.

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