February 15, 2012
Support from the local community will help influence a bid by Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) for a $65 million government upgrade, according to Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
LRH has applied for funding to support the building of a new improved emergency department, additional endoscopy facilities and offer more beds for acute care through the Federal Government’s ‘Regional Priority Round of the Health and Hospital’s Fund’.
Mr Chester has launched a local campaign to highlight the importance of the proposal and is inviting residents to sign a petition or send messages to the Minister.
“We need to let the Minister know that it’s important to fix our hospital,” Mr Chester said.
“The government has funded some significant health service improvements in the Latrobe Valley in recent years but there’s more work to be done.
“I believe this proposed upgrade of Latrobe Regional Hospital ticks a lot of the boxes in terms of regional development and the future health and prosperity of our region.
“I am very keen to work with both the State and Federal governments to secure the funding we need for this upgrade which will improve the health outcomes of the Latrobe Valley and the broader Gippsland region.”
Mr Chester and State Member for Morwell Russell Northe last week toured the facility with LRH Board Chair Kellie O’Callaghan.
“As we walked through the facility, there were many examples of cramped and inadequate facilities which were making it difficult for staff to do their job,” Mr Chester said.
“In my experience, the staff and the board at Latrobe Regional Hospital have been doing a terrific job under quite difficult circumstances.”
Mr Chester will next week send out mini-petitions for Latrobe Valley families to complete and return to his office free-of-charge so that he can further demonstrate the high level of community support for the project to the Gillard Government.
Online support is also being garnered for the campaign with a “Help Fix Our Hospital” campaign page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/helpfixlrh
Latrobe Valley residents will begin receiving the mini-petitions from Monday, February 20. Further copies of the petition can also be downloaded from www.darrenchester.com
Residents are also invited to write to the local MP to express their support for the upgrade or raise any concerns.
“The existing problems we are facing in the Latrobe Valley region will only get worse in the future, with an ageing population and a predicted growth in demand for services of 13 per cent over the next 10 years,” Mr Chester said.
“The growth in demand has simply outpaced the existing facilities, and a major upgrade is required as a matter of urgency.”