Gunnedah Shire Council has cautiously welcomed the clinical services planning that will occur for the new Gunnedah hospital, but is concerned with "the softening of the language" surrounding the issue.
The council's general manager Eric Groth has released a statement saying that he "fears that faceless bureaucrats are attempting to walk back the scope of the project to save a few bucks at the expense of the Gunnedah community".
"I'm sure that there are boffins in the bureaucracy that would love to see the Gunnedah hospital reduced to a clearing house for Tamworth to save a few dollars on their operations," Mr Groth said.
"Getting this new hospital built is long overdue and the bureaucracy was dragged kicking and screaming to the commitment at the last election. Kevin Anderson MP is going to be our voice at the table and he needs to be on guard for any sneaky tricks to make sure that the department delivers on his promises in full."
Australian Community Media reached out to both Mr Groth and Mr Anderson but were unable to speak to either of them on Friday afternoon.
Mr Groth said the Gunnedah community would "not accept being treated like a colonial outpost".
"We want genuine action on healthcare and we need our families to be treated in Gunnedah, not sent on a magic carpet ride to Tamworth every time they get sick," he said.
Mr Groth's statement then went on to say that the big decisions involved with the planning of the new hospital "have an impact on all of us, our quality of life and the future of the Gunnedah shire as whole".
"The development of a clinical services plan is a critical stage in the planning for a new hospital. The plan determines what services the new facility will need to provide and the required staffing to provide those services," he said.
"It's important that the clinical services planning process is genuine and not working to a pre-determined budget outcome. If more money is required to build and service a new hospital for our growing community then it must be found.
"Having to travel for treatment is not an acceptable solution and rural communities should not be disadvantaged because of their postcode. It is essential we get this right. We will be looking to Kevin Anderson MP to hold the bureaucracy to account and ensure the people of Gunnedah get a new hospital with the services they deserve."
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