Federal government rejects MPS for Coraki

Richmond Valley councillor Ray Jeffery said there was a feeling of cautious optimism at the Mid Richmond Residents Village (MRRV) in Coraki after advice from federal Minister for Ageing, Santo Santoro, that the government does not support the location of an multi-purpose service (MPS) in Coraki.

The North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) had been looking at closing down Corakis Campbell Hospital and replacing it with an MPS (which incorporates aged care and accident and emergency services). It was proposed to be located at the MRRV, which is next door to the hospital. However, the move was not supported by village residents or the MRRVs former committee of management, who saw it as an inappropriate intrusion into the home of 39 elderly residents.

Meanwhile, there has been huge community opposition to the closure of Campbell Hospital.

A letter from Minister Santoro says the NSW Government has not presented any evidence for the need for an MPS, or how the model would benefit the Coraki community.

Furthermore, he said he understood the proposal did not have community support.

Given these factors, there does not appear to be a strong case for the development of a MPS in Coraki at this time, the letter said.

Cr Jeffery said it was now up to the NCAHS whether it chose to build a completely new MPS on the hospital site or to spend money upgrading the existing hospital buildings.

He said under its proposal, the NCAHS was planning to spend over $3 million on an additional wing for the MPS at the Mid Richmond Residents Village.

Why not put that money towards upgrading the existing hospital? he said. The problem is they have let it deteriorate because they had it in the back of their minds (to close the hospital).

NCAHS spokesman Robin Osborne said they had not been advised that the federal government did not support its plans for an MPS at Coraki and were still proceeding with the original proposal.

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