The shire-wide push for a regional base hospital was rewarded with a $150 million funding announcement from the state government last week – but leader Dr Michael Holland says the fight is far from over.
“In response to a potential crisis in local health services, a social media movement was initiated, calling for the development of a single new regional hospital," Dr Holland said.
“The group attracted over 2,700 members and an online petition received 937 signatures in one week.
“A formal petition to the NSW Legislative Assembly containing 2860 signatures was presented to our local member the Hon. Andrew Constance.
“On October 31, the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Mr Constance announced the commitment of $150 million.
“The community has welcomed this.”
Dr Holland said although the $150 million commitment was a strong start, it would not build a regional base hospital up to the standard of comparable facilities.
“The petition requested a regional base hospital be developed to provide medical services equal to those of (other regional hospitals) within the Southern NSW Local Health District,” he said.
There is a shortfall of at least $50 million in funding based on current estimates.Dr Michael Holland
“The development of these services at the South East Regional Hospital, Bega several years ago required $187 million, including a large contribution from the Federal Government.
“There is a shortfall of at least $50 million in funding based on current estimates.”
Dr Holland said there was a precedent for the federal government stepping in to fund the shortfall.
“We request a commitment from the current, and any future, federal government to provide funds to meet the development of a new regional hospital in the Eurobodalla,” he said. “As the Eurobodalla Shire straddles the federal electorates of Gilmore and Eden-Monaro, residents will continue to lobby our local representatives for a federal contribution.”