NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley today demanded the State Government provide a definitive timeline for the over-stretched Tweed Hospital – saying delays by the Nationals have meant the hospital is over-stretched and in crisis.

Earlier this month, senior doctors at The Tweed Hospital spoke out on the state of the hospital – saying their patients were being forced to go across the border to the Gold Coast’s John Flynn Hospital for treatment as their facility was overstretched. Other patients have been transferred to Lismore Base Hospital. They said the hospital was at breaking point.

Mr Foley made the comments on a visit to the Tweed with NSW Shadow Health Minister and Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord. (Mr Secord has met with local doctors several times this year concerned about the delays with Tweed Hospital.)

Mr Secord said the time for “weasel words and old tricks” by the Nationals had passed and the community deserved to know what were the actual plans for Tweed Hospital. The buck-passing must stop.

In the 2015 State election, Tweed Nationals MP Geoff Provest pledged $48 million for the hospital –but there has been no action.  Tweed doctors have expressed their frustration as a clinical services plan was developed more than seven years ago and many of the services were supposed to have been completed in 2017.

Tweed doctors said they needed, as a minimum, to increase the size of the emergency department, double the number of operating theatres, increase intensive care by 30 per cent and increase the number of cancer treatment chairs.

On a recent visit without warning, Mr Hazzard floated the new idea of a brand new hospital on a “greenfield site”, however, Labor accused him of engaging in “diversions and delaying tactics”.

In March 2015, Labor pledged $211 million towards a major redevelopment of the Tweed Hospital. Next year, Labor will announce its formal plans for Tweed Hospital before the next State election. This commitment will be made in consultation with the local community, the Labor candidate and local doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals on the North Coast.

Emergency Department at Tweed Hospital

More than one in five patients waited longer than four hours in the Tweed Hospital emergency department; that is 20.3 per cent of all patients. About 49,000 patients visit the Tweed emergency department each year, making it one of the State’s busiest hospitals outside western Sydney. Unfortunately, 630 patients were forced to wait longer than eight and a half hours.  (Source: BHI – June to September 2016 quarter – released December 2016)

Elective surgery at Tweed Hospital

As of September 30, 2016, 906 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective surgery at Tweed Hospital. This included 257 patients for orthopaedic surgery; 226 for ear, nose and throat surgery; and 169 for gynaecological surgery.

The median wait for non-urgent elective surgery was 246 days with 10 per cent of patients waiting longer than 346 days for non-urgent elective surgery. (Source: BHI – June to September 2016 quarter – released December 2016)

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Tweed is a growing community and its hospital is under enormous pressure. It is in crisis.

“Doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are crying out for the upgrade for their patients. North Coast patients deserve a hospital which meets their needs.

“It is unfair to force patients to go to Lismore or the Gold Coast for treatment when they live in the Tweed.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Health Minister and Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord

“The Liberals and Nationals – particularly, Tweed MP Geoff Provest are either unwilling or unable to represent the Tweed. 

“Geoff Provest is failing the families and patients on the Tweed. They deserve someone who will stand up for them.”

Quotes attributable to Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot

“Locals are sick and tired of the National Party’s lies and broken promises over the Tweed Hospital. 

“The Nationals in Government at both a Federal and State level continue to neglect the health and hospital needs of families on the North Coast.”