GOULBURN Base Hospital’s days and nights of coping with power shortages and equipment shut-downs will soon end – thanks to $1 million new funding from the NSW Government.
The money will enable the hospital to upgrade its power supply to use a new CT scanner, upgrade the theatre suite and ensure proper airconditioning for patients and staff. The power upgrade also means the hospital can now look to an additional three Emergency Department bays and a 20-bed Rehabilitation Unit in coming years.
Pru Goward, Member for Goulburn and NSW minister for Family, Community Services and Women, announced the new funding at a brief ceremony at the hospital on Wednesday.
Goulburn Base Hospital’s power supply has been so precarious that airconditioning and blow heater use has had to be rotated for fear of overloads and blackouts interrupting use of medical equipment.
Acting hospital general manager, Judy Ryall, said: “Patient areas have been fine, but in staff and other areas we’ve had to be very careful. Our main aim is to keep patients warm in winter.”
First call on the $1m will be for a new electricity transformer to cope with all the hospital’s power demands and fully utilise its new facilities and equipment. Ms Goward said the money came after she’d “banged on a lot of ministers’ doors.”
“To some people a million dollars mightn’t sound a lot, but at a time when we have a very tight State budget it means a lot,” she said.
“We can install the CT scanner that’s waited for a power upgrade, and we don’t have to turn power off in wards to do complicated surgery.”
The funding comes under the NSW Health and Hospitals Fund’s regional priority round for Stage One Redevelopment of Goulburn Hospital. Ms Goward said the new funding was vindication of the O’Farrell Government’s decision to give more autonomy to smaller local health areas.
She said this money, and anything more that might become available, would not lessen Goulburn’s chances of eventually getting a new hospital or a major hospital expansion as demand for health services continued to grow in the region.
All the new equipment and facilities, as well as the upgraded power supply, would be incorporated in any future major project. Ms Goward praised hospital staff for their dedicated patient care in the face of long-standing difficulties, and the way they continued to work as a team.
Ms Goward also commended Dr Max Alexander, CEO of the Southern NSW Local Health District, Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Geoff Kettle, and Councillor Neil Penning, for pushing Goulburn’s needs for urgent hospital funding and “for coming knocking.” (Dr Alexander was unable to attend Wednesday’s announcement).
Cr Kettle thanked Ms Goward on behalf of the Goulburn community for securing the new funding.
“The staff here have had to put up with so much,” he said.
“But we won’t stop pushing doors to see Goulburn has the hospital it needs and deserves.” Goulburn medical practitioner, Dr Paul Falk, said doctors welcomed the new hospital facilities, and their ability to use the new CT scanner when the power upgrade is completed early in the new year.
The hospital’s electrical adviser, Andrew Woolner, said tenders would be called for the necessary equipment and building work after consultation with Essential Energy.