Ambulance vehicles wait outside the Lismore Base Hospital.
Ambulance vehicles wait outside the Lismore Base Hospital.

Emergency gets $2.95m transfusion

LISMORE'S struggling emergency department will be given a $2.95 million boost as a stop-gap until the facility is replaced in 2016, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner will announce today.

Ms Skinner, who is visiting Lismore to attend the Northern NSW Local Health District's annual community meeting at Invercauld Rd tonight, is expected to announce plans to expand floor space in the existing emergency department by 40% and provide an extra seven beds at Lismore Base Hospital.

The upgrade will be announced as an interim measure until the new $80 million emergency department is built.

"This upgrade will expand the emergency department floor space by around 40% and allow for the construction of an interim seven-bed emergency medicine unit," Mrs Skinner said in a statement.

"This interim emergency department upgrade demonstrates the NSW Government's commitment to ensure that high quality health services are available to Lismore and neighbouring communities.

"In May this year, Mr (Lismore MP Thomas) George and I announced a further $20 million contribution from the NSW Government and an additional $60 million under the Australian Government's Health and Hospitals Fund had been secured for this significant upgrade to Lismore Hospital.

"It's wonderful to be back at Lismore to see progress being made on the hospital for the benefit of patients, staff and the local community."

Mr George said the interim upgrade to the department was needed to address the critical lack of space in the short term.

"We're talking about 2016 before we get the $80 million spent," he said. "What do they do in the meantime?"

Work on the interim upgrade was expected to start in April and be finished in February 2014. Mr George said even that delay grated, given the overcrowding at the base hospital.

Beyond 2016, Mr George said the push for the remainder of the Stage Three redevelopment would begin in earnest once plans for the full upgrade were complete.



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