MP welcomes $8.6 million promise for Mount Barker Hospital ED

MP welcomes $8.6 million promise for Mount Barker Hospital ED

The Federal Government’s announcement of an $8.6 million funding injection to upgrade the Mount Barker Hospital’s Emergency Department is fantastic news for the local community, their local MP Rebekha Sharkie said today.

“It has been obvious to me and everyone who has lived in the Hills for some time, experiencing the rapid population growth in the Mount Barker district first-hand, that we have been in desperate need of a modern ED in our region,” Rebekha said.

“This is why I advocated so hard for a 24-hour doctor at the hospital and why, once that service was installed, it has come as no surprise that ED admissions have surged significantly and the hospital has to revamp its ED facilities to provide a modern unit to deliver modern emergency medicine.

“Right from the launch of the 24-hour doctor service we knew we’d need better facilities and we as a community have advocated for these improvements with two State Labor Health Ministers as well as the new State Liberal Minister.

“Unfortunately, my efforts to advocate for Mount Barker Hospital’s share of the $1.3 billion funding pool outlined in the 2018-19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in late December had been stonewalled.

"Numerous email and phone contacts with Minister Wade’s office throughout January, seeking information and a meeting to discuss the Federal Community Health and Hospitals Program and its implications for the Mount Barker Hospital went unanswered.

“I sent a letter in early February outlining my support for local health professionals’ call for the ED upgrade and it was disappointing to receive a letter from the Minister this week thanking me for my interest but informing me that the Minister would be working with the Liberal Candidate for Mayo and the State Liberal MPs for Kavel and Heysen on how to allocate monies for the program.

“However, at the end of the day, if the politics of a marginal seat means the infrastructure in our electorate receives the funding attention it deserves after decades of neglect, then that is good news for our community. I hope to see more announcements over the coming months.

“Since my election in 2016 our community has managed to achieve so much for our health services including a 24-hour doctor at the Mount Barker Hospital, better youth mental health services for the Hills and Fleurieu, a Medicare-rebatable MRI service and renal dialysis beds for the Hills and a Medicare Customer Service Centre on the South Coast.

“My only concern about the Mount Barker Hospital ED announcement is the $8.6 million might not be enough to do what is needed.

“The feedback I have received from the experts in the community is that the hospital actually needs $15 million to get the job done properly.

“South Australia should receive $93 million of the $1.3 billion based on our seven per cent population share so $15 million for a hospital infrastructure project that serves a local population catchment of 70,000 people is fair and reasonable."