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Inside the private hospital that the doctor ordered

A STATE-of-the-art specialist centre and private hospital planned for Grafton could cure a number of health issues plaguing the area, says the surgeon driving it.

Grafton doctor and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sam Martin has just submitted a development application to Clarence Valley Council for the specialist centre and private hospital on the corner of Queen and Arthur Sts, Grafton.

Dr Martin said the development could solve the problem of attracting specialists to the Clarence Valley.

"A significant number of private patients leave the area to get surgery done," he said. "They could be on a waiting list here for eight months, or get it done down the road in three weeks.

He said it would also limit the drain of private patients who leave the region for medical procedures.

Dr Martin said there would also be benefits for the public system from the private service.

"It would also take public patients off the surgery waiting list," he said.

Dr Martin said many of the details for the development have been nailed down.

The land for the development, which will mainly be the site of the Albion Hotel, has already been purchased.

He said the heritage issues with the site had also been solved.

"A heritage consultant has after some careful advice come up with a plan that incorporates keeping the hotel facade and a couple of upstairs rooms in the design," he said.

"A significant part of the hotel will remain in the design and create a good combination of heritage and modern design."

Dr Martin said he had also been in discussion with neighbours about the possibility of future expansion.

"We're not anticipating the DA will cause too many problems," he said. "All the contact with the council has been positive.

"It will be staged," Dr Martin said. "Once the DA is approved we will start to look at finding someone to run the private hospital."

The director of anaesthetics and chair of the medical staff council at Grafton Base Hospital, Dr Allan Tyson, welcomed the DA.

"While things have been improving in the region, new health infrastructure would certainly help attract further specialist services Grafton," he said.

"Further investment in healthcare infrastructure is prudent particularly with the current predicted population growth for the town."

A spokesman for the council said the DA will go on public exhibition on Friday.

Topics:  clarence development grafton hospital private hospital



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