COMMUNITY leaders have backed calls for Griffith’s ramshackle public hospital to be demolished and rebuilt within a decade.
A masterplan process currently under way will recommend Griffith Base – a sprawling hospital with sections dating back to 1935 – be completely overhauled.
The rebuild could cost close to $250 million and would be dependent upon funding from the state government.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind it needs to be rebuilt over the next 10 years,” Murrumbidgee MP Adrian Piccoli said.
“It depends on the availability of capital though.”
Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) has started phase one of its blueprint for the future of the hospital – the Clinical Services Plan 2013-2023 – expected to be completed in early 2014.
The masterplan’s lead consultant, Colleen Wilson, confirmed to The Area News she would recommend the hospital be rebuilt.
Griffith Base Hospital general manager Ian Power said changing health needs and a raft of add-ons and renovations over the years had impacted on the functionality of the hospital.
“This is a discussion the community has to have,” Mr Power said.
“Our hospital is very spread out and you can trudge around for half-an-hour trying to find things.
“It’s only early days but we’re looking at things like how structurally sound the building will be and if it will comply with building codes in the future.
“We also need to look at how it fits in with the private hospital and allow it to have room to grow.
“The staff do a wonderful job here under the circumstances but there is a big issue with functionality.”
The hospital services a vast area – east to Leeton and Narrandera and west to Hillston, Hay and beyond.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi said while a new hospital was a long-term project, the lobbying had to start now.
“We do deserve a good hospital and if we could get a new public hospital as well as a new private hospital, it would be absolutely fantastic for Griffith,” Cr Dal Broi said.
“It will take some time and people like myself have to start lobbying now so funding is set aside for a brand new building.
“The community also needs to agitate on this and I have no doubt they will.”
Griffith Base Hospital local health advisory committee chairwoman Jenna Thomas said a new hospital would drive greater efficiencies in local health delivery.
“In a modern hospital, for example, the children’s ward and maternity would be much closer together but at Griffith Base, you have to walk for 10 minutes,” Ms Thomas said.
“It’s just not designed for easy access and that leads to inefficiencies and difficulty for patients and staff.
“We think it’s (a rebuild’s) essential.
“We want to start planning should funding become available.”