There is no truth to the rumour that the soon to be unoccupied Great Lakes Council building is being considered as a potential site for the promised Forster Public Hospital.
Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead confirmed the claims were unfounded earlier this week.
"(There's) no truth to that rumour at all," he told the Great Lakes Advocate.
"That's not what is happening."
Mr Bromhead said he was unsure where the rumour came from but believed he might have heard a member of the local business community suggest it some weeks ago.
In regards to progress on the proposed hospital, Mr Bromhead said he was unsure whether the clinical services plan assessing the health needs of the lower Mid North Coast district had been completed.
"I don't know," he said. "I've got a request in to Hunter New England Health asking when we will be getting that clinical services plan."
Mr Bromhead's comments stand in contrast to those of former Myall Lakes candidate Paul Sandilands, who claimed in a letter to the editor that "the long-awaited clinical services plan has been completed but has not yet been released publicly".
Originally scheduled to be completed in April, Mr Bromhead said the clinical services plan had been delayed as a result of COVID-19.
Hunter New England Health confirmed on Wednesday, September 23 that the initial stage of the clinical services plan had in fact been completed in August but it was a multi-stage process.
"It's been completed by the district but then it's got to go to NSW Health," a spokesperson said.
The spokesperson was hesitant to provide a definitive answer on when the clinical services plan would be finalised but indicated it was rare for the process to take longer than a few months.
However, given the plan had been undertaken to assess the health needs of the entire lower Mid North Coast region - stretching roughly from Wingham in the north to Hawks Nest in the south and Gloucester in the west - the spokesperson said it would more than likely reveal whether a public hospital for Forster-Tuncurry was a realistic option.
"It would indicate whether that service was needed in a location or not," the spokesperson said.
Mr Bromhead was adamant it would.
Asked whether he still believed construction of the hospital would start in this term of government, he replied: "Yep, sure do."
It is understood the findings of the clinical services plan will be made public once it has been completed.
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