June 14, 2024 10:40 PM

Candidates Cast Spotlight on Muswellbrook Hospital


Labor candidate Jeff Drayton is committing $32 million towards the next redevelopment stage of the Muswellbrook Hospital.

Muswellbrook Hospital has been in the spotlight with candidates for the Upper Hunter by-election setting their sites on the incomplete upgrades and staffing issues.

Across the parties that have spoken on the topic it is agreed that the region deserves more.


Labor candidate Jeff Drayton was joined by NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay and Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park (pictured) to announce funding for Muswellbrook Hospital should they be successful in landing the seat of Upper Hunter.

“Promises have been made to finish the next stage of the Muswellbrook Hospital redevelopment for years and years and we still see nothing. Today Labor are committing $32 million to finish the next stage, one of those stages is the operating theatre,” Mr Drayton said on Monday.

“A community the size of Muswellbrook that contributes so much money to the state’s economy really does deserve a good quality health care system and that’s what they will get with this funding,” Ms McKay added.

Mr Park said the funds would be used to upgrade the general ward, maternity ward and making sure there is an operating theatre adjacent to the surgical ward.

“Certainly, our view is that with state of the art facilities it will attract medical professionals to the area,” Mr Drayton said, with clarification from Ms McKay that this funding is just for the infrastructure but that Labor would deliver support to ensure staff are also in place at the facility.


Sue Abbott, Greens candidate for Upper Hunter, said they can not believe it has taken so long to get Muswellbrook Hospital to the point it is, and for it to still be incomplete.

“The Greens are here today to announce that we will support whatever it takes in funding to get this section of Muswellbrook Hospital finished,” she said.

Mrs Abbott was joined by Granville Taylor (pictured), who is the chairman of community group MACHINE which formed in 2013 to campaign for upgrades to local health services.

“We now have a marvellous building but inside there are empty spaces which are ready to be fitted out for operating theatres and obstetrics and basically all the facilities that aren’t for outpatients. But that’s been standing empty for two years now, waiting for the money,” he said.

“There is no further building to be done, it is just a matter of bringing in the equipment and installing it. Doctors are still working in the original operating theatres from the 1970’s.”

Mrs Abbott said that while they are pleased to hear other parties are putting money forward, the Greens feel it needs to not be a set amount but a commitment of whatever it takes to get the job done.


Following a meeting with members of the Health Services Union (HSU), Upper Hunter by-election candidate Sue Gilroy will be calling for increased security presence for both Muswellbrook and Scone Hospitals.

With recent reports circulating regarding attacks by patients on hospital staff, the members of the HSU have expressed safety concerns due to the lack of security presence.

She was joined by Robert Borsak (SFF party leader) and Roy Butler (Member for Barwon) at Muswellbrook Hospital last week.

“Members of the Health Services Union have expressed their concerns with the lack of security presences within the hospital,” she said.

“Health and Security Assistants have been employed by the hospital, but their hands are full without already having to deal with threats and attacks.

“We don’t want to see a patient being portered in the hospital when a code black is called, and that patient having to be left so that the Health and Security Assistant can attend to the code black.

“We need to see two more security people employed to be 24/7 and we need to ensure that health and security assistants focus is first and foremost security both in a proactive and reactive way.”

Last year we had 818 assaults in NSW hospitals, up 23 percent year on year.