The Border Medical Association is doubling down on the desperate requirement for a replacement hospital servicing Albury-Wodonga and the wider region.
More than a decade after the cross-border health service was created with Albury and Wodonga hospitals, the BMA believes the next chapter in health care service for a population catchment already the equivalent size of Greater Geelong is a single site, new hospital.
A recent clinical services plan completed for Albury Wodonga Health reveals the service will annually be dealing with up to 150,000 emergency presentations, performing 40,000 surgeries, admitting 3200 intensive care patients and delivering 1900 births by 2040.
"It is clear that the stress and strain that Albury Wodonga Health is under cannot continue with our current two hospitals," BMA chair Barb Robertson said.
"Our community deserves better than what can be delivered in these outdated and overcapacity facilities.
"We are pleased that both NSW and Victoria health departments have supported the vision put forward by AWH and its clinicians, but we need to move quickly on the next steps, as time is critical."
The next important step for the creation of a new hospital is the release of a master plan outlining the infrastructure requirements to cater for a population which already had strong growth before the onset of COVID-19.
It is due to be released next month with the potential cost of a new hospital being around the $1 billion mark.
"It is apparent that to be able to sustain the growth of our community and provide safe health care we need a new hospital," BMA deputy chair David Clancy said.
"We need all levels of government to lift their eyes and see the clear need of our community, and make this reality.
"We cannot rely on Band-Aids and piecemeal solutions.
"Our patients, families and staff deserve better than having to work out of tents and tin sheds.
"But to drive this, we need the help of our community."
BMA member David Rutherford said clinicians couldn't stay silent in the fight for better facilities.
"We cannot stand idle as our hospitals are drowning and struggle to support basic services," he said.
"The limited capacity of our hospitals are what result in surgeries being cancelled, patients stuck in emergency departments and staff that are increasingly overwhelmed. It's not a case of simply modifying or renovating our current hospitals.
"Our recruitment depends very heavily on people who have worked for us before in some capacity.
"Beyond that it is extremely difficult to attract new staff."
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