Lack of beds is an emergency

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner will this morning hear from doctors urging her to take heed of community group, Our Health's campaign to put 100 new beds in Lismore Base Hospital.

Ms Skinner is visiting Lismore today and will meet with members of Lismore Base Hospital's Medical Staff Council to discuss the hospital's planned new $80 million emergency department and its broader needs.

Medical Staff Council chair Chris Ingall said the doctors echoed the concerns raised by Our Health in its 100 beds campaign.

"We strongly endorse the community's concerns," Dr Ingall said.

"These are major concerns as well and we have written to the (NSW) Treasurer (Mike Baird) on this issue and have not yet received a reply.

"We are eager to talk to the Government on the issue of getting more beds."

Lismore MP Thomas George was expected to be on the Tweed making an announcement with Arts Minister George Souris at the same time as the meeting, so was not expected to attend it.

In a letter to Mr Baird, Dr Ingall, on behalf of the council, asked the Treasurer to consider allocating extra funding to Lismore to provide more beds.

"It has become increasingly obvious to us there are insufficient funds made available to build into Lismore Base Hospital which is most sorely needed," the letter says.

It is also calling for 100 beds based on the needed resources mapped out in Lismore Base Hospital's 2006 Clinical Services Plan.

"We have waited 20 years for an increase to the body of this hospital, so the $20 million offered by the state for the first part of the stage three redevel- opment (the new emergency department) has been a long time coming."

Dr Ingall said increased ward beds would increase patient flow through the emergency department, improving "risk management" for people being treated at the Base Hospital.

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