Ballina Hospital wants more money for theatre upgrade

SURGEONS operating from a theatre smaller than two parking spaces at Ballina Hospital have called for $2.3 million funding to bring their facilities up to scratch.

The hospital currently has only one 25sq m operating theatre to cater for more than 17,800 emergency patients each year.

Ballina Shire Council Mayor David Wright said the Federal Government had promised at the last election to spend $4 million on a new theatre.

"It's not enough. We've been working on plans and we can either refurbish the existing one, which will cost $4.5 million, or spend another $2 million and have an asset that won't need to be replaced for 30 years," he said.

"What we have is only 25sq m but the national standard is 55sq m.

"The cheapest option (to build a new theatre) is $5.3 million and that would be a complete and utter waste.

"They would be throwing their money away."

Cr Wright said a $6.3 million commitment would allow the existing theatre to be brought up to standard and a second theatre to be built.

"It's not like we need buckets of money," he said.

"They're spending an absolute fortune on Lismore, and so they should, but Ballina deals with the whole coast and a couple extra million would take a whole lot of pressure off Lismore.

"We've done all the testing and it's fully-costed."

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