Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, has called on the Minister for Health and Premier to release the long hidden details of a feasibility and business case that has been developed by the State Labor Government for West Gippsland Hospital.
Speaking in State Parliament, Mr Blackwood said West Gippsland Hospital had been wiped off the Andrews Governments agenda leaving some to question if the medium to long term plan was for it to close.
‘The Andrews Government this week announced plans for community consultation committees to be established in growth areas such as Craigieburn, Cranbourne, Pakenham, Phillip Island, Sunbury and Torquay but not West Gippsland,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘That is to ensure that each hospital in those areas meets the health needs of its community, but what about West Gippsland?
‘If I were a cynical man, I could take this to mean, 'Let’s look at the option of closing West Gippsland Hospital and placing all the resources into other areas’, which certainly is fast becoming the concern local residents have with the lack of information coming from the Andrews Labor Government.
Mr Blackwood said the reputation of West Gippsland Hospital, its staff and the service they provided was second to none and it was time the Andrews Government backed the service with the infrastructure it so desperately needs.
‘The West Gippsland Hospital has a reputation in my electorate and more broadly of providing high-quality health care. Currently it is really struggling to cope with the enormous increase in demand for its services.
‘This demand is being fuelled not just by population growth; it is also a direct reflection of the professionalism of the staff and the excellent outcomes that are achieved because of their dedication and commitment.
‘The hospital’s board of management purchased 60 acres of land using the proceeds of a significant bequest back in 2006 and the land is perfectly located between Drouin and Warragul, with good access to the Princes Freeway and both Warragul and Drouin.
‘With the population of the Baw Baw Shire around 45 000, which is predicted to double by 2050, it is a no-brainer that planning must begin to relocate the hospital from the current site of 27 acres to a greenfield site of 60 acres.
‘The Minister for Health and Daniel Andrews need to stop stalling and release the hidden studies into the future of West Gippsland Hospital so residents have a clear indication about the future of their critical healthcare service,’ said Mr Blackwood.