Gunnedah PaediatRic and Maternity Support (PRAMS) is calling on the local community to write to the Health Minister and voice its disapproval at the scaled-back plans for the hospital redevelopment.

PRAMS members are backing calls from state MP Kevin Anderson and Gunnedah Shire Council to fully fund the Gunnedah Hospital redevelopment masterplan.

With the NSW Budget less than two weeks away (September 19), PRAMS member Rebecca Ryan said the issue is of immediate importance and urged people to join them in the hospital funding campaign.

“This is our last roll of the dice,” Ms Ryan said.

Earlier this year it was revealed not all services promised by the NSW government’s $53 million funding commitment for Gunnedah would be delivered under the current budget. This included the highly-desired renal and chemotherapy services but also new theatre and day surgery, new medical imaging connected to emergency, new entry, new back of house, new plant room, new community health, dental and gym, new front of house and new landscaping.

The government cited escalating construction costs as the reason for omission of the promised facilities but many in the Gunnedah community feel short-changed by the move.
“We always seem to be at a disadvantage,” Ms Ryan said.

“The government needs to show it cares about regional communities.”

Ms Ryan said the Gunnedah community is only asking for the government to honour what has been committed to.

“During the election campaign both Labor and the Coalition promised Gunnedah’s redeveloped hospital would be delivered,” she said.

“I think the community was reasonable in assuming that what was being promised was the hospital as presented to the community, and accepted by the community, in November 2022.

“There was never any indication that the budget would be stretched, or the scope would need to change, and we are just concerned that this new plan cuts out too many components with no promise of future development or future budget for the hospital.

“This is a time when Gunnedah needs to stand up and make some noise – we want extra money allocated in the budget so that what was promised, is delivered to the community.”

PRAMS committee member and founder Amber Donoghue hoped the government would reconsider its position on the Gunnedah Hospital and provide the funding the community deserved.

Gunnedah shire mayor Jamie Chaffey highlighted the NSW government’s own inquiry which he said depicted a “sad but entirely accurate” picture of health care in country NSW where residents die sooner, are more likely to have chronic diseases, and can’t find a doctor or access a hospital for treatment.

Residents are encouraged to write to the NSW Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park, either by post or by filling out the ‘contact form’ online, and stress the need for extra funding to complete the Gunnedah Hospital redevelopment’s original masterplan in full.

This would be as per plans provided to the Gunnedah community in November 2022.

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