A new hospital has been at the "top of the list" for the Gunnedah community, and a recent petition didn't get it over the line, a local group says.
The comments from PRAMS member Rebecca Ryan come after the state budget announcement of $53 million for a new Gunnedah hospital last week.
Ms Ryan said the group "never set out to be a political organisation" but said it was a misconception that a petition circulated by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) state election candidate in March had sealed the deal. The petition was supported by the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA).
"To suggest that a petition or some soap box theatrics in the three months leading up to the election have resulted in this funding shows a lack of understanding of the political process," Ms Ryan said.
"The reason we are getting this hospital is because community groups have had this on the agenda and have kept raising it as a priority.
"For groups like ours that have just got on with it and worked tirelessly to improve our local hospital, it is frustrating to see one side of politics take the credit for lobbying and discussions that have taken place over many years with quite significant conversations and planning over the last four years."
Mr Bacon told the NVI that the announcement was the result of a community approach.
"There can be no doubt that the hard work of PRAMS, Gunnedah NSWNMA, Gunnedah Shire Council, and of course, the community that supported the hospital upgrade petition played a huge role in securing the funding in the NSW state budget," he said.
"The big winner is Gunnedah and I can't wait to see the start of construction."
The SFF member said he was "pleased" with the part he had played and was "humbled" by the support he received from the Gunnedah branch of the NSWNMA.
NSWNMA delegate Heather Franke said the Gunnedah branch was "disappointed" with PRAMS' comments, and it was "very disheartening to have our hard work dismissed in this way".
"[The] Gunnedah branch was vocal in calling for community members to support us in signing the petition," she said.
"While we welcome the support of PRAMS and the work they have initiated at the hospital ... and praise them for the way they fundraise and are successful in attaining grants to continue their work, [we] feel that the comments were unwarranted."