"I'M very excited about this."
That was the summary from the director of the Bathurst Hospital emergency department as $200 million for a redevelopment of the hospital was announced on Wednesday morning.
Dr Pav Phanindra made one of the shortest speeches at the announcement of the funding, but his belief in the need for the project was obvious.
"As a community, Bathurst is expanding," he said.
"Being a GP, and director of the emergency department, what you are seeing is an increased number of presentations and complex presentations.
"With this expansion, I am very sure that we are going to be attracting more clinicians and there are very enthusiastic medical students and junior doctors who want to stay, train and be part of this community."
Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor was with Member for Bathurst and Deputy Premier Paul Toole in announcing that the $200 million for the redevelopment would be in the NSW Government's 2022-23 budget.
Mr Toole said it would be the largest investment in a hospital in regional NSW in the 2022-23 budget.
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The NSW Government says the funding will "deliver more acute inpatient beds, a larger emergency department, increased rehabilitation services, expanded ambulatory and outpatient services, and an enhanced pre- and post-operative care".
But it will be a long process.
Western NSW Local Health District CEO Mark Spittal said the health district anticipates a masterplan for the redevelopment will be finalised next year and all the work won't be completed until 2027.
Mr Toole emphasised that he didn't want to see locals having to travel out of Bathurst for medical services, which has been a frequent recent criticism of Bathurst Hospital, including from the Bathurst Health Services Action Group.
It was confirmed earlier this month, for example, that high-risk pregnancies were still being transferred to Orange Hospital for delivery.
Mr Toole also provided a quick history lesson on the last major redevelopment at the hospital, sparing no criticism of the previous state government.
"You go back almost 10 years ago, we saw the former Labor government spend $100 million on this hospital. They built us a hospital that was not suitable for the next five or 10 years," he said.
"We actually saw a hospital where the Liberals and Nationals in government have had to spend tens of millions of dollars to improve what has happened here.
"They built a hospital where the doors were too small - you couldn't fit a wheelchair through them.
"They built a hospital where sewage was coming up through the pipes in the maternity wards.
"They built a hospital where you couldn't get the hearse in underneath and a hospital that was not suitable for the growth of this community.
"Our community deserves better. Our community deserves to have these services here in our region."
He also made reference to the proposed privately operated, multi-storey integrated medical centre in the Bathurst CBD.
"When you talk about a private hospital that's looking at setting up in the middle of town, of around a $60 to $70 million investment, it means that Bathurst will be the medical hub right here in this area and I think it's going to really transform the way in which services are delivered."
Minister for Regional Health Mrs Taylor said the refurbished Bathurst Hospital "will see you through for decades to come", while Member of the Legislative Council Sam Farraway said those who are part of the exodus from the big cities to the bush are looking at healthcare facilities as well as education facilities as they choose a new home.
"Bathurst has some fantastic education facilities, but this upgrade just ticks another box," he said.
Mayor Robert Taylor said the redevelopment would be "unbelievable" for Bathurst.
"All I can say is 'wow'," he said.