Medical staff are set for more important talks with NSW’s new Health Minister Brad Hazzard as he works to fix a raft of issues at the Tweed Hospital.
Both the medical staff council and Tweed MP Geoff Provest confirmed the minister would make time to talk to hospital representatives via a phone conference later this month.
He is expected to then visit the region a second time in another six weeks as he ramps up efforts to meet the shire’s medical needs.
“We’re having a telephone conference with the minister in a couple of weeks and then hopefully the minister will be up in about six-or-so weeks, we’re just waiting for confirmation of dates and times,” Tweed Medical Staff Council Co-chair Dr Rob Davies said.
“Obviously he’s still finding his feet and is not going to commit to anything or make promises at this stage, which is understandable in his first week, but obviously where we’re at with the hospital development, it’s frustrating. That’s just the timing.”
The director of emergency department said staff, although a little frustrated, were taking positives from the fact the minister was seemingly making the Tweed a priority, visiting the Tweed last week in his first hospital visit since his appointment to the portfolio.
“We’re hopeful that means he wants to engage with us,” he said.
“He could quite easily have said, ‘Look, I’ve got the whole state to worry about, I’ve been to see you already, I’ll get to you when I get the chance’, but that’s not what we’re being told and it’s not what the organising indicates, which is some consolation.”
Mr Provest said the minister would make every effort to lend hospital staff his ear and his support. The Tweed was promised a $48 million hospital upgrade last election. The minister has confirmed a new hospital in the shire was also an option on the table.