NEW England MP Tony Windsor says he has still not received a Freedom of Information response from the NSW Ministry of Health about federal funding for the Armidale Hospital upgrade almost a month after it was due.
Hunter New England Health submitted the $50 million revamp of Armidale Hospital to the NSW Government as its number one priority to be included in NSW’s submission for the $1.8 billion regional round of the Health and Hospital Fund (HHF).
But Mr Windsor claimed the upgrade was not submitted by the State Government.
“The people of Armidale deserve to know why their hospital was not included in the NSW Government’s submission to the Federal Health and Hospital Fund and why since then they have had to get 10,000 signatures on a petition just to have the issue debated in the NSW Parliament when it was already at an advanced stage of planning and should have been included in the NSW Government’s application for getting on with the job,” he said.
“Tamworth Hospital was successful in Round 3 of the HHF because it had developed its clinical plan under the encouragement and support of the former independent Member for Tamworth, Peter Draper to become shovel ready.
“Armidale Hospital had been promised $10 million under the previous state government but it didn’t have its clinical plan in place in time to meet the first round eligibility criteria but it did have it ready for the second round.
“Hunter New England Health then submitted the Armidale Hospital upgrade to the NSW Government as their number one priority to be included in the overall NSW submission that had 38 projects to be assessed for eligibility.
“I understand that the NSW Health Minister, Ms Skinner will be visiting Armidale Hospital in early August.
“I trust that her Department will have provided the promised information to me before then and can tell the people of Armidale why they missed out on even getting a look-in at the funding for the upgrade of their hospital.
“As is often said, ‘You’ve gotta be in it to win it’, but it appears that the people of Armidale weren’t in it for some reason or other.”
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