PM to announce $8.3m health unit

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd will deliver a welcome message during his visit to Lismore today.

The PM will annnounce funding to the tune of $8.3 million to establish an eight-bed medical assessment unit at Lismore Base Hospital that is expected to be operational by November.

Mr Rudd will make the announcement at 10.30am at the Liz Rummery Lecture Theatre in University House after a tour of Lismore Base Hospital.

According to the PM's Office the funding comes in addition to over $600,000 provided to the hospital for new surgical equipment under stage two of the Elective Surgery program.

The eight extra medical assessment unit beds are expected to take pressure off the hospital's emergency department by moving patients to a dedicated area to receive medical diagnosis and treatment.

During his visit, the PM will be greeted by representatives from the Nimbin HEMP Embassy and their mascot, The Big Joint.

President Michael Balderstone said they were hoping to get five minutes with the PM to ask him to consider cannabis law reform.

The PM will make the funding announcement flanked by Page MP Janelle Saffin.

The funding is on top of $9.8 million in Federal support for the University of Western Sydney's rural clinical school in Lismore and Bathurst; and $15 million to fast-track Lismore's integrated cancer centre.

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