SITTING Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly has increased the pressure on his electoral opponents by visiting the Cooma site of a $10 million medical training hub. He says construction is expected to begin in the coming months.
He said he was looking forward to turning the first sod.
The multi-faceted doctors and nurses training hub - a joint initiative between Southern NSW Medicare Local, the Australian National University (ANU) and University of Canberra (UC) - will be situated on and around the Cooma Hospital grounds and include:
- Training and clinical space located on the hospital grounds, complete with teaching and consulting rooms for Medicare Local frontline staff and students.
- A UC student accommodation block across the road from the hospital.
- Three units for ANU students.
The facility is part of a $31 million package announced in May last year by Dr Kelly and federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek. Hubs will also be built in Bega and Moruya.
Dr Kelly inspected plans and toured the Cooma site with representatives from the ANU, UC, Southern NSW Local Health District and project manager Bill Ross.
"This is such an exciting project which will allow us to attract and retain more specialist medical staff in Cooma and the surrounding area," Dr Kelly said.
"I am extremely proud of what our government has done since 2007 to improve health services in our region, after years of neglect under the Howard Government.
"We have seen $329million flow into Eden-Monaro for facilities including, right here in Cooma, the $1.5 million Home and Community Care centre, $550,000 for the Bombala St Surgery and $3 million for the ANU Rural Clinical School.
"There is, however, more to be done in boosting our health workforce and this Medicare Local training hub will help us to address this need."
Dr Kelly said he was delighted to have worked so closely with Medicare Local, the Local Health District, ANU and UC on plans for the hub.
Southern NSW Medicare Local CEO Kathryn Stonestreet said the Cooma Hospital site was a "great location, which will allow effective connection with community health and existing services.
"This is an opportunity for the Medicare Local to enhance primary health service provision in Cooma Monaro," Ms Stonestreet said.
"The new building will provide headquarters for our current staff and gives us flexibility to position new workers in Cooma. It is an exciting development for us and is an investment in the future health of Cooma-Monaro residents."
Dr Kelly said he was looking forward to turning the first sod on the hub in the coming months, and also continuing to work with Canberra's universities on the possibility of a broader tertiary campus in Cooma.