MEDICOS, senior health bureaucrats and a newly appointed architect met with the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner today in Tweed to progress plans for the $48m re-development of the Tweed Hospital.
Mrs Skinner said the NSW government was progressing with plans for clinical services, to determine "what goes where", in the first of the three-stage development.
The first stage will comprise 32-beds in the emergency, operating theatres, coronary and cancer care wards.
Medical Staff Council chair Dr Ian McPhee said the meeting marked a key milestone in planning for the hospital's revamp and clinicians had been thoroughly consulted with.
"This is where it gets serious. Things are moving according to plan. Health Infrastructure is on board and they've made a huge commitment to us, as clinicians, nothing could have gone any faster," he said.
"This is the moment when we decide what the building will look like, describe it to the Minister and ministry, and they'll approach treasury to release the funds," he said.
The medical council has campaigned for the redevelopment since December 2014 in partnership with the Tweed Daily News in the lead up to the last State election.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest secured $48m in funding towards the project as part of an election pledge.
Mr Provest said plans for the re-developed Tweed Hospital are "first class" and will include social media enabled technology.
"One of the exciting things to me was listening today about the advancement of social media in the realm of health, allowing doctors to communicate, clinicians to communicate and patients to communicate," Mr Provest said.
Mrs Skinner said no date for construction had yet been set, and could not confirm if the first stage will be completed by 2017, as per the master plan published in 2013.
But the Minister did give a commitment that "the $48m will be spent over this four years of government".
"In the last four years we have invested $5b into rebuilding hospitals and its another $5b in the next term," Mrs Skinner said.
Asked when the remaining funds of the overall $211m project outlined in the master plan will be released, and if doctors will have to campaign for that funding, Mrs Skinner said: "The doctors are constantly campaigning, I think the staged process that we go through in health infrastructure and redeveloping health is the appropriate one.
"What we'll do is take a total look at what else needs to be done. We don't know what the final figure is. It might be less, it might be more. I think that was a figure that came out in 2011 ... I don't know if that's right."