Labor pledge $15.2m to upgrade Tomaree Community Hospital

Tomaree Community Hospital would receive dialysis, rehabilitation and radiology services, additional palliative care beds and a helipad as part of a $15.2 million upgrade under a Labor government, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington announced on Monday.

Ms Washington, joined by the shadow minister for health, Walt Secord, made the commitment outside of the Nelson Bay hospital stating that if elected on March 23, a Michael Daley-led state government would put the plans for the upgrade in motion "immediately".

“Tomaree Hospital is overstretched and as the local population has more than doubled over the past few decades the hospital just has not kept pace, especially with the massive influx of tourists each year,” Ms Washington said.

“Only Labor will deliver a hospital upgrade for the Tomaree Peninsula to tackle the growing local need for improved healthcare.

“Members of the local community, patients and local health workers have been calling for this much needed upgrade for a long time."

Ms Washington and Mr Secord said the $15.2m was slated to cover an upgrade to the hospital's medical ward, the addition of rehabilitation, dialysis and radiology services, including x-ray and ultrasound that would be staffed seven days a week, at least two more palliative care beds with additional staffing and a helipad on the hospital grounds.

Currently, medical helicopters land on Bill Strong Oval about 800 metres away from the hospital. Patients are transported by ambulance to and from the field.

The upgrades to the hospital would be separate to the establishment of a HealthOne on the grounds, which is due for completion in 2020. The $8m HealthOne, funded by the current Liberal government, includes a General Practice clinic, community health services pathology unit, medical imaging unit and a dental clinic.

Tomaree Community Hospital has a 14-bed acute medical ward that includes two single bed en suite rooms, which are used primarily for adult palliative care patients.

The hospital also has a five-bed Emergency Department that provides adult and paediatric emergency care.

The ED underwent an upgrade in 2016 after Tom and Rose Pearce from Nelson Bay bequeathed the hospital $508,000 two years prior.

The final scope and services to be included in the redevelopment will be determined in collaboration with the community, doctors, nurses, health and hospital workers and the Hunter New England Local Health District, Ms Washington said.

The announcement followed NSW Labor's commitment to employ more than 10,000 additional nurses, health and hospital staff across NSW.