NEW BEGINNINGS: Member for Page Janelle Saffin, Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis listen to Dr Allan Tyson at the official opening of Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment. Photo: JoJo Newby
NEW BEGINNINGS: Member for Page Janelle Saffin, Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis listen to Dr Allan Tyson at the official opening of Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment. Photo: JoJo Newby

Hospital in full swing

YOU know you're at a shindig in a hospital when one of the leading men has to dash off midway through the ceremony to help deliver a baby.

Dr Allan Tyson's role was seeing the Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment was not forgotten at the official opening yesterday, despite him leaving centre stage to help administer a caesarean section. (The baby was born healthy, though the doctor did not have time to check whether it was a boy or girl.)

The regional hospital and its newly finished emergency department, surgical wards and orthopaedic surgery facilities were held in high regard by the bevy of dignitaries who attended yesterday.

Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek commended her colleague Member for Page Janelle Saffin for her tireless lobbying for the funding, but more than anyone, she congratulated the community.

"I can tell you as Health Minister there is always somewhere you can spend a dollar," Ms Plibersek said.

"But when you have a community willing to put its hand up ..."

She said Grafton had not only fundraised but had demanded decent services.

Stage one and two of the hospital upgrade were worth nearly $30 million, with more than $25 million from the Commonwealth and the remainder from State Government.

Dr Tyson took so much ownership of the project, he reportedly knows the position of every power point and he was credited yesterday for ensuring the funds were spent carefully and correctly.

Ms Saffin received accolades for her role in ensuring the money came to the Valley.

"The $18 million sat for a while whilst they were planning," Ms Saffin said.

"I knew it was there and there was already interest so I said I wanted the interest, too."

At a ladies morning tea, before the official ceremony, Ms Saffin thanked all those who had a part to play, including the United Hospital Auxiliary.

Surgical services manager Sheryl Rogan explained what a huge impact the new facilities had made.

"We pick up a patient and wheel them down, they say how fantastic the surrounds are," she said.

"They stop even thinking about what they are there for."

State Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Local Member Chris Gulaptis also attended.

Fast Facts:

New equipment includes world-class CT scanning and X-ray services

Ms Saffin secured $19.2m for stage one and $6m of federal funding for stage two


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