An announcement by Stephen Bromhead that planning for a public hospital at Forster Tuncurry would begin soon was met with scepticism by some members of the community, but the Myall Lakes' MP has stood by his words.
"I don't know what they're sceptical of," he said.
"It was a commitment at the last election and we're delivering on it now."
Mr Bromhead announced last week that "the first critical stage in the development of a new hospital is clinical services planning, and the tender process is almost complete with the successful company set to begin within weeks."
He explained the critical services plan would look at the health care needs for the district over the next 10 years and be carried out by a company selected by Hunter New England Health.
This announcement was met with a variety of criticisms by readers of the Great Lakes Advocate, with many indicating they wouldn't believe the claims until substantial progress had been delivered on the hospital, while others questioned how the facility would be staffed considering existing shortages in the healthcare industry.
Mr Bromhead responded by saying there was a comprehensive process to follow when developing any new hospital, referring to Health Infrastructure's 'How to Build a Hospital' resource, which outlined the planning, design and delivery requirements.
He also stressed there was no one size fits all approach, saying every new hospital needed to be tailored to the needs of the community it serviced.
He outlined the following factors to be considered:
- How the services operate by themselves, alongside surrounding services and what the functional and design requirements are
- Population shifts and changing age profile
- What services need to be included and where, such as electricity, water and telecommunications.
Asked when construction on the facility would begin, Mr Bromhead said ideally within this term of government.
Contrary to some suggestions, he said no site had been selected for the hospital yet.
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