NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said his party was committed to providing the funds needed to ensure the new Eurobodalla Hospital operates as a level four hospital.
Visiting the region on Friday, Mr Minns said both sides of politics were committed to the funds needed to build the new hospital, but the critical issue was the recurrent funding for the necessary staff to provide services the community needed.
“It revolves around ensuring there are increased ICU and emergency beds, and there are increased staffing levels to cope with an increased population – not just at holiday times, but also taking into consideration the fact that this community is rapidly growing,” he said.
Without adequate recurrent funding, Mr Minns said the new Eurobodalla Hospital could end up like others throughout the state with ghost wards because funding levels are not enough to provide the necessary staff.
“The evidence has been received by NSW Upper House politicians over the last six months in the regional hospital inquiry, has been that there has been brand new pieces of infrastructure but without the staffing and investment to make sure that they’re operating at full capacity,” he said.
He also said bed numbers for critical services outlined in the clinical services plan had been cut back, despite the region’s growing population.
The comments came after Mr Minns and Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park met on Friday with members of the local community who had been calling for the planned Eurobodalla Hospital to be upgraded to level four status.
The planned Eurobodalla Hospital will be the culmination of the merging of the Batemans Bay and Moruya District hospitals. The site at Moruya was announced in December 2020.
They claimed new Eurobodalla hospital will open as level three unless there are intensive care services.
They also said there will be reduced bed numbers in vital areas such as maternity and paediatrics, as there had been a reduction in planned services of paediatrics from level four to level three.
Mr Minns said there had been a reduction in the originally planned operating theatres and the removal of the central sterilisation unit with subsequent loss of jobs.
Under the current plans there were no guaranteed intensive care services on opening, he said, and potentially none until 2031, along with no mental health unit and no radiation oncology service.
Image: NSW ALP