Petition sparks hospital debate

STATE Parliament will debate the possibility of redeveloping Glen Innes and Inverell hospitals next month.

The debate was prompted by a petition circulated by Northern Tablelands MP Richard Torbay which attracted more than 11,000 signatures from members of the public.

Mr Torbay said he would push for clinical services plans to be drawn up for each hospital.

Preliminary network services plans for both hospitals have already been completed.

“The next step is to produce clinical services plans which should lead to redevelopment of the hospitals to meet current and future needs of their local communities,” Mr Torbay said.

With larger hospitals receiving a “lion’s share” of the funding and smaller communities receiving new multi-purpose services, Mr Torbay said the district’s hospitals had been left out.

He said he would campaign for a separate funding category for such hospitals.

“Both infrastructure upgrades and health workforce issues should be addressed as these are the matters the communities and local health providers regard as crucial,” he said.

The state Parliament debate will take place on February 24.

A petition launched by former Inverell resident Steven de Gunst in June, calling for Hunter New England Health to redevelop Inverell hospital by 2015, collected about 2700 signatures.

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