PATIENTS will have to wait at least five years for the doors to Gunnedah's $53 million hospital to open.
Construction of the hospital is slated to start in 2023 but it will take at least another two years before it can admit patients.
Gunnedah Shire Council (GSC) mayor Jamie Chaffey met with Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, GSC general manager Eric Roth and Hunter New England Health chief executive officer Michael DiRienzo on Wednesday about the hospital plans and the possibility of renal and chemotherapy services.
Cr Chaffey said the meeting was "very robust and lengthy", but he and Mr Groth weren't allowed to view the clinical services plan (CSP) which lays out the services the hospital will provide.
"There will be no services that are currently provided in that hospital that will be lost in the new hospital, but we didn't see the CSP," he said.
"Clearly from the work that HNEH has done, it's identified that renal and chemotherapy services are needed and justified in the Gunnedah community.
"More work will need to be done to see what that will look like, but they are going to be considered, and that's great for the community of Gunnedah."
Cr Chaffey said HNEH "committed" to a "new hospital", but couldn't say whether it would be a knock down and rebuild situation, or simply adding on to the original structure.
"It is the early days but it was the commitment of a new hospital, clearly we can't stop the current hospital from operating and providing a critical service to the community of Gunnedah," he said.
"Now it's that work that needs to be done to see what the hospital will look like and where on that actual block of dirt it will be able to be built without stopping the current functions of the hospital that we have now.
"Gunnedah is a growing centre, will continue to grow, but it's not just happening for the sake of happening, but because it's by design."
He said the politics needed to be taken "out of all of this", as "we're playing with people's lives".
Mr Anderson said there needed to be clear communication to the Gunnedah community.
"It's important that Gunnedah has the services delivered closer to home and as we have those discussions moving forward, HNEH were clear that they would come back to Gunnedah to further update the community, which is great," he said.
"HNEH need a very clear and concise communication plan to the Gunnedah community."
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