The 2012-13 Federal Budget will deliver significant new funds for two Lismore hospitals.

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said $60 million was going toward the redevelopment of Lismore Base Hospital and $2.5 million would be used to build two new operating theatres at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

“The Gillard Government is delighted to be directing such a significant amount of funding to redevelop the Lismore Base Hospital,” said Ms Plibersek.

“These capital works will be a major boost for the local economy while they are being carried out, and will offer hospital services to more than 170,000 people in the Northern Rivers region once they are completed.”

Member for Page Janelle Saffin said the Lismore Base Hospital redevelopment will include the expansion of the emergency department, improved renal dialysis facilities, and improved facilities for primary care.

“I am so excited to get this cash injection into Stage 3 of Lismore Base, as a project we have talked about for years can now start to become a reality,” Ms Saffin said.

“I have always made clear that health care is my number one priority, and I lobbied hard in Canberra to support the community campaign for funding for Stage 3 of Lismore Base.

“I am pleased that the Federal Government had a policy that allocated monies for regional and rural health, so that we could get the funds in a one-off.

“It is vitally important that residents of the Northern Rivers have access to quality health care that meets the increasing demand for hospital services and will attract doctors and nurses to our region.”

Ms Saffin said the funding for St Vincent’s will increase theatre capacity, for both private and some contracted public elective surgery, and will significantly shorten waiting times for surgery.

“St Vincent’s Private Hospital provides wonderful health care in our region sitting alongside public health and the two work in a complementary way, giving patients choice in care,” Ms Saffin said.

“The funding will go towards building new theatres for general, urological and ophthalmic surgery as well as relocating and refurbishing an existing endoscopy suite.”

St Vincent’s Private Hospital is contributing half the funding of this $5 million project.

Funding for the hospitals was made available from the Gillard Government’s Health and Hospital Fund (HHF.)   The application was assessed by the independent HHF Advisory Board.

These redevelopments are among a large number of projects being funded by the HHF in the 2012-13 Budget to help regional health service networks manage the expected increase in demand for services over the coming years.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said: “As a Labor Government, we will always manage the economy in the interests of working people, and that means delivering a surplus while making room for critical investments in health infrastructure like the ones here in Lismore.”