Funding locked in for Griffith's private hospital

THE Griffith Community Private Hospital dream has finally become a reality after council and St Vincent's bulldozed the ultimate funding hurdle and reached an agreement on Friday.

The St Vincent's Health Australia Board officially agreed on Friday to fund the sterilisation unit, ending an eight-month stalemate between the hospital and the state government over who would pay for the vital component.

The agreement paves the way for St Vincent's and Griffith City Council to sign the lease for the new development.

It is expected the lease will be signed early in the new year.

Once the lease agreement is signed, the hospital committee can update the design plans and proceed to tender for the building works for the new hospital and the Murrumbidgee Clinical Teaching and Learning Centre.

Construction is expected to begin mid-next year.

The announcement is very welcome news for Casella and Spagnolo Family Trust spokesman Roy Spagnolo, who was initially involved in getting the ball rolling almost five years ago.

"We're ecstatic, it's been a long time coming and the people of Griffith have been very patient," Mr Spagnolo said.

"I want to say a big congratulations to St Vincent's for stepping up to the plate because we've received absolutely nothing from the state government."

The federal government has put forward $11.3 million so far plus $5.4 million for the learning centre.

Council has committed to raising $1 million and Mr Spagnolo said the community is more than half-way there.

"At last everything is a certainty," he said.

"If anyone wants to make a contribution they can contact my self or council and together, we can move forward into 2014."

St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney CEO Robert Cusack said he was "excited" about partnering with council to establish the new hospital.

"This project really symbolises a coming together of the local and broader communities," Mr Cusack said.

"This has been a dream of the Griffith community for a long time and we are pleased to be able to play a key part in this vision with our partners in this project.

"This really is a great example of community partnership - which is what this project is all about."

The new hospital will house a 20-bed inpatient unit and 20 day-only beds, as well as the learning centre, and will be designed to complement and extend the services provided by Griffith Base Hospital - rather than duplicating.

Combined with the existing GBH, the interlinked clinical and teaching campus of some 150 hospital beds and related community and primary care infrastructure will see a critical mass of healthcare services established for Riverina residents.

Griffith Mayor John Dal Broi is "delighted" can now proceed to the next phase.

"Griffith City Council is excited to partner with (St Vincent's) to realise the dream of the Griffith community in bringing a private hospital to the region," Cr Dal Broi said.

"The new hospital, along with the Griffith Base Hospital, will provide an enhanced level of health services to the residents of the Western Riverina."


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