Gunnedah PaediatRic and Maternity Support (PRAMS) group says the NSW government is lacking transparency by failing to reveal full costs involved in the hospital redevelopment and has left the community to fend for itself on health care gaps.
“NSW Health must release the full cost of the endorsed plan so we know what further investment is needed,” PRAMS committee member Rebecca Ryan said.
“There’s no transparency in this process. We feel forgotten in Gunnedah.”
Ms Ryan’s comments follow the omission in last month’s state budget of additional funding needed to complete the new hospital design in full.
The long-promised Gunnedah Hospital redevelopment was allocated $53 million in funding under the previous Coalition government.
Soon after the state election in March, the new Labor government conceded the funding allocation would not go far enough to deliver all components of the hospital redevelopment.
A significantly scaled back design plan was released which did not include the sought-after cancer and renal services, among many other aspects.
The revised design was met with dismay by many in the community – not least the members of PRAMS who have long campaigned for better health facilities in the area.
The Gunnedah-based community and advocacy group took out half page advertisements with the Gunnedah Times to call on the community to join them in their petition to the health minister.
After much effort and no reward, Ms Ryan said the government re-announced Gunnedah’s existing hospital funding for a third time.
“That the existing $53 million was included in budget reports as a highlight is a joke given this is money that’s been announced three times now,” she said.
“It would be laughable if we weren’t taking about health.
“In the shadow of a scathing inquiry into rural health that showed poor outcomes for rural and regional people this was a missed opportunity.”
With no path forward to fulfil funding shortfalls, Ms Ryan said the NSW government has left the Gunnedah community to fend for itself.
“I guess the government is happy to leave it to community to fill the gaps which we are committed to but it feels a little hollow,” she said.To order photos from this page click here