MEDIA STATEMENT

NOVEMBER 16, 2021

Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines has released a powerful report outlining the strong case for a new hospital for Albury Wodonga.

What It Would Mean For Us is the personal accounts of people living across the border region, highlighting the life-changing impact a new world-class hospital facility would have for locals.

Collected as part of a 788 people-strong petition calling for a new hospital for Albury-Wodonga, the stories in the report cover experiences with travel to and from Melbourne for regular treatment, experiences from people working with the medical sector, as well as the growth forecast for the region.

“These powerful, personal stories show the life-changing difference a new hospital for Albury Wodonga would have – for young families, for people as they age, for people experiencing illness and injury,” Dr Haines said.

“The stress and trauma experienced by people who must travel for their own medical care, or support their family members from a distance, adds to the difficulty of dealing with medical issues. A world-class facility on the border will take away some of that stress if people can get the care they need close to home.”

Many people who signed the petition shared their experiences and concerns.

“My husband was air lifted to Melbourne recently in a potentially life-threatening situation. I’ve never felt so frightened or isolated not being able to go with him or be there. Living here also concerns me for our future as we age. Will we be able to access our specialists in Melbourne when we are no longer driving? How hard will it be when we have mobility problems or financially can’t afford the trips?” – Anthea, Lavington

“I’ve been visiting Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre for over 4 years now on a regular basis, and it is an amazing facility. If a new hospital could be built that would reach these same standards, that would be an amazing resource. I currently travel daily from Benalla Shire for radiation, but for anything more than a PET scan I need to go to Melbourne.” – Anne-Marie, Goorambat

“We need up to date facilities to allow medical procedures, education, and research to proceed ahead to match future requirements. Pleasant and relevant facilities assist in attracting the brightest and progressive experts.” – Margaret, Molyullah

Albury Wodonga Health is set to release a detailed masterplan in the coming weeks, and Dr Haines is calling for the federal and state governments to come to the table and provide funding to make a new hospital a reality. This report will be sent to federal and state health ministers to demonstrate the importance of a new hospital.

A leaked document from the Regional Deal negotiations reported by The Border Mail included a new single acute hospital with a “women’s and children’s wing, critical care complex and a collaborative research and education centre”.

“We know a new hospital is top of the list for priority projects that has been put to the Federal Government for the regional deal, and this report shows our region’s healthcare needs can’t be ignored,” Dr Haines said.

Dr Haines recently met with the Minister for Health Greg Hunt to make the case for a funding commitment and handed over a petition of more than 750 signatures calling on the Government to fund the new hospital, which could cost up to $1 billion.

The Federal Government has committed funding to other regional hospitals including in Wagga Wagga[1], Geelong[2] and Shellharbour[3], and Dr Haines said Albury Wodonga must be next.

The link to the report is here.

 

[1] http://www.wwhsredev.health.nsw.gov.au/overview

[2] https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/new-womens-and-childrens-hospital-service-for-geelong

[3] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-08/new-hospital-for-shellharbour/12639460

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