A LABOR government would invest more than $2 million to draw up plans to expand Bathurst Base Hospital, leader Michael Daley has pledged.
And Mr Daley said the hospital would receive a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the first term of a new Labor government, after local doctors raised their concerns with him during a meeting on Saturday morning.
Mr Daley was in Bathurst on Saturday to announce the $2.2 million expansion planning funding that he said was “about careful preparation for the future” to ensure the hospital could continue responding to patient needs.
He was joined by Beau Riley, Labor’s candidate for Bathurst at the state election in March.
Mr Daley said Labor would work with local doctors, nurses, hospital staff and patients to determine which wards and units of the hospital required the most urgent upgrades.
“Bathurst Base Hospital is under enormous pressure and this is about supporting its hard working staff so they can provide world-class health and hospital services to the local community,” he said.
“This is about preparing a blueprint for the future of the Bathurst Base Hospital.”
Mr Daley said Bathurst Base Hospital “employs hard working doctors and nurses but it has not been expanded in response to the increase in population”.
According to the latest Bureau of Health Information statistics for July to September 2018:
- Bathurst Base Hospital attends to more than 26,000 patients a year in its emergency department.
- There were 801 patients awaiting elective surgery.
- Patients waited an average of 300 days for non-urgent elective surgery.
- One-in-five patients waited more than four hours to be treated at the emergency department.
- 10 per cent of patients spent more than six hours and 56 minutes in the ED.
- 375 babies were born at the hospital in the last nine-month reporting period (January to September 2018).
On top of this, Mr Daley said, many patients were admitted to Bathurst Base Hospital and then transferred to Orange or Sydney for further treatment.
Mr Riley has previously committed to introducing nurse-to-patient ratios that he says will deliver more nurses to Bathurst Base Hospital, as well as additional hospital security staff.
He accused Bathurst MP Paul Toole and the Coalition government of “[neglecting] health and hospitals”.
Mr Daley said the commitment to provide an MRI at Bathurst Base would involve him working with his federal counterparts to ensure the machine was Medicare-rebated to help people avoid the trip to Sydney or Orange for scans.