THE Border Medical Association has put the creation of a single campus hospital servicing Albury-Wodonga and the wider region firmly on the agenda with a call for the federal government to play a larger role in regional health.
The BMA has contacted Farrer and Indi election candidates calling for an end to the present "piecemeal funding for add on services" with a push for the federal government to have a bigger say in administration and financing the cross-border health service to become a tertiary referral centre for the region within a 10-15 year timeframe at a potential cost of $500 to $750 million.
"At present, we are forced to fly patients out to capital cities for services that should be provided locally," BMA chairman Scott Giltrap said.
"At the same time, we fly doctors into Albury-Wodonga just to keep basic service delivery on line.
"A regional tertiary referral centre would allow provision of advanced services available at every other health service serving a similarly sized population.
"However, this cannot be achieved without a significant change in our infrastructure."
Mr Giltrap said the cancer centre showed how swiftly a regional service can develop.
"Build it, and they will come," he said.
"The catchment area of this hospital will increase well beyond its current 250,000 patients if we expand the delivery of high-end specialist care."
"I met recently with the BMA who believe, longer-term, our two hospitals should be combined into a single campus," she said.
"Through the new regional deal for Albury-Wodonga this proposal, and how AWH is funded by the two states, are definitely discussions we need to have.
"Total federal funding allocated for Albury-Wodonga health has risen by 57 per cent in the last five years."
Farrer independent candidate Kevin Mack said the Albury hospital site was already "bursting at the seams" before the pending upgrades.
"We've got a lot of bandaids on these things, the precinct is basically choking," he said.
"The health of our community should not be put at risk for the sake of funding."
AWH chair Nicki Melville declined to comment when contacted by The Border Mail.
Mr Giltrap said AWH was under-funded in comparison to other major regional centres.
"As the result of an arbitrary border, patients are forced to use a health service that is less capable and under-funded," he said.
"We require federal intervention to resolve the impasse at a state level and deliver the tertiary service this rapidly growing regional area requires."