A SINGLE campus, state of the art hospital on a greenfield site will be pursued vigorously through the regional deal announced for Albury-Wodonga recently by the federal government.
Support for a new hospital was a strong theme to emerge from the border health round table hosted by member for Albury Justin Clancy and his Liberal Benambra counterpart Bill Tilley and brought together federal MPs, Sussan Ley and Helen Haines, health professionals and Albury Wodonga Health leaders at Huon Hill Hotel yesterday.
AWH chairwoman Nicki Melville said "intensive planning" was the immediate priority to determine whether a greenfield site hospital or ongoing expansion of the existing Albury and Wodonga hospitals would cater for long-term needs.
"We don't want to be another Bendigo or another Ballarat," she said.
"But let's do the planning first and work out does the Albury campus fit the bill or does a greenfield site fit the bill."
She said some of the $3.1 million already set aside for the regional deal could include preliminary work on health needs.
"The regional deal is a really big deal," he said.
"It is a great opportunity for us to secure health services into the future.
"Some of the visionary things we talked about today was becoming a centre of excellence for regional health and training in regional health."
Health is expected to have a seat at the table in drafting up priority actions of the regional deal with leading medical figures including Dr Underhill, Scott Giltrap, Jonathan Lewin and Tracey Merriman already working on what clinical services might look like in the future.
Other immediate priorities to emerge were a start on the emergency department upgrade in Albury and lobbying the Victorian government to match the $75 million on the table from NSW to relocate maternity from Wodonga hospital.
Mr Tilley said the round table, which also had senior health officials Andrew Crow, Jacqui Worsley and Vince McTaggart in attendance, was a significant step in unifying all parties after recent public stoushes coinciding with elections.
"I can't see any other way out for the Victorian Government to support Albury Wodonga Health," he said.
"(Doctors) work at the coal face to provide those important things to ensure people can work and live in a great part of Australia."
Stuart Baker (Headspace) and Les Schmutter (Nolan House) also attended.
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