The Albury Wodonga Regional Health Summit has made it clear that the border community needs more from the Victorian, NSW and federal governments to deliver a single-site hospital on the border, says Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines. 

Dr Haines attended the summit on Friday, facilitating a panel discussion including representatives from the NSW and Federal Governments. 

“The Summit was a positive step that brought all levels of government to the table. We can and we must work together on this to find the solutions to meet our health needs,” Dr Haines said. 

“I am committed to single-site hospital, that is fit for purpose, that puts people at the centre of service delivery, and is capable of training and retaining a world-class healthcare work force. 

“We need transparency, accountability, clarity of data and follow-through so that our communities can have trust in government and confidence in decision-making processes.” 

The summit was held after a letter from Albury Wodonga Health’s chief executive officer and board chair, sent to the NSW and Victorian Health Ministers, was made public on Thursday by NSW Greens MLC Dr Amanda Cohn. 

“The letter we have seen overnight confirms that the funding pledged so far won’t meet the health needs of our communities,” Dr Haines said.  

“We need all levels of Government to come back to the table to ensure the best decisions are made in the best interests of the health of our communities.” 

The panel facilitated by Dr Haines included Federal Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Michael Holland, Victorian Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier, Greens Member in NSW Legislative Council Dr Amanda Cohn, Border Medical Association Deputy Chair Dr David Clancy. 

“As an Independent MP, I was very pleased to enable a conversation between important stakeholders at the Albury Wodonga Regional Health Summit and for the opportunity to work across borders, across levels of government and across politics to address the different concerns of the border community about the hospital. 

“Assistant Minister Kearney accepted my invitation to attend on behalf of the Federal Government and I believe she now understands the issues we face and how important this is to us as a community. While much of the work on the hospital’s development must happen at the state level, there is also a role for the federal government to play.” 

The summit resolved on nine recommendations or courses of action, some of which relate to education and the health workforce. Dr Haines pledged to pursue these recommendations with the Federal Government. 

“The Federal Government has a clear remit for education, training and research and this is where I have been working to secure federal funding. A significant investment could be made to a collaborative education, training and research centre as a key part of the Albury Wodonga health ecosystem and critical component of the hospital redevelopment.” 

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