The recently completed Lower Mid North Coast Clinical Services Plan undertaken by Hunter New England Health District, makes no mention of a potential hospital or emergency department for Forster or Tuncurry.
Manning Great Lakes Health Action Group founder, Alan Tickle, who provided an individual submission to the State parliament rural health services inquiry, attended a presentation of the plan to key stakeholders and Manning Base Hospital staff yesterday, Tuesday, July 21 in Taree.
Mr Tickle said a question was asked during the presentation, outlined by Hunter New England Health District chief executive, Michael DiRienzo if there were any plans for a public hospital at Forster in the Clinical Services Plan.
"The response was there will be discussion with stakeholders in Forster concerning planning for clinical services provision in Forster," Mr Tickle said.
During the presentation Mr DiRienzo announce in-patients at Manning Base would have more pleasant, contemporary accommodation following stage two of the redevelopment of the hospital.
"I think we'd all agree, it would be really good to have contemporary inpatient accommodation - a better ward set-up, single rooms, ensuites and so forth, just to bring it up to (the standard) of every hospital that is being developed these days in NSW," Mr DiRienzio said.
The need for upgraded patient accommodation was one of the key findings in the recently completed Lower Mid North Coast Clinical Services Plan, a document that informs the $100 million stage two redevelopment of the hospital's infrastructure.
Stages 1A and 1B of the redevelopment, which focused on chemotherapy and renal dialysis, followed by imaging and diagnostics, have been completed.
"Now it's time to start to plan for the $100m redevelopment that will be moving on as quickly as possible," Mr DiRienzo said.
"A lot of what we're also doing is improving a range of services and bringing in some new models of care.
"It will add to what we're currently doing, which is trying to attract more specialist services both in medical nursing and allied health."
Mr DiRienzo was in Taree on Tuesday, July 20 to discuss the findings of the document with hospital staff and key stakeholders.
The response was there will be discussion with stakeholders in Forster concerning planning for clinical services provision in Forster.Alan Tickle
The Clinical Services Plan would not be available to the general public, as Mr DiRienzo said it was a large and complex document and he did not want it to be misread or misinterpreted as an operational plan.
"This is a Clinical Services Plan designed to assist in guiding us (in respect to) the infrastructure we need to build within our $100 million capital investment to get maximum service delivery," he said.
"We've summarised and put forward all of the findings of the clinical services plan and that's what we'll be releasing to the community, and then I want them to hold us accountable to delivering what we can deliver from those priorities within our $100m investment."
Mr Tickle said there was concern at the meeting the plan was not being made available to the public.
"My own personal view is that an executive summary would be useful for the community to have available, with a cross reference to the full Clinical Services Plan," Mr Tickle said.
"The Clinical Service Plans of many other health districts are readily available on their websites."
As for the presentation, Mr Tickle said it could be classed as an executive summary of the key take outs from the plan.
"We did not get to see the whole document but the improvements that were flagged in terms of the emergency department, a short stay unit for pediatrics, and a major upgrade in inpatient facilities would all be welcome.
"There were some positives that some of the enhancements that had been called out by the community since 2016 have been addressed in the Clinical Service Plan."