A Shorten Labor Government will provide faster access to care for critically ill people in the Clarence Valley by building a new helipad at Maclean District Hospital.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King and Labor Candidate for Page Patrick Deegan made the announcement today during a visit to the Hospital, where they met with the Clarence Valley Mayor and representatives from Rotary and the local community.
Patrick Deegan said people in Maclean have repeatedly told him the new helipad was a top priority for the local community and have been frustrated that their calls have been ignored by the Liberals.
“Kevin Hogan and the federal and state Liberals have done nothing about the closure of the old helipad for almost 18 months, forcing patients to be transferred by ambulance from a nearby field,” Mr Deegan said.
“In contrast, Labor has listened to community groups and health workers.
“Labor’s investment will restore direct helicopter transfers from Maclean District Hospital, ensuring faster access to care at other hospitals and keeping ambulances where they belong – on the road responding to calls.”
Between 2005 and 2017, the existing helipad at the Hospital – which was built by the Rotary Club of Maclean – ensured direct helicopter transfers to other hospitals.
But the helipad was closed in 2017 after an audit found that it did not meet new guidelines for heavier helicopters.
Ms King said when Scott Morrison was Treasurer, he cut more than $700 million from Australia’s hospitals, including a $9.5 million cut from the Northern NSW Local Health District between 2017-2020 – equivalent to 13 doctors or 27 nurses.
“Over the same period, the Liberals have cut $215 million from hospitals across the state – and now Scott Morrison is trying to lock in those cuts for another five years to 2025,” Ms King said.
“Only a divided and dysfunctional Government would cut money from hospitals and fail to fund priorities like the Maclean helipad while trying to give a tax handout to the banks.
“Unlike Morrison and the Liberals, who are only for the top end of town, Labor will deliver a fair go for Australia. A fair go means investing more in our hospitals.”
Ms King said Labor’s $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund will fund better facilities and more services across the nation, because Labor believes your Medicare card – not your credit card – should ensure access to world-class health care in Australia.
WEDNESDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2018