Gunnedah project team appointed and community update

The Gunnedah community will have the opportunity to share its views on the planned $53 million redevelopment of the local hospital. 

Hunter New England Health (HNEH) will host a virtual community consultation forum tomorrow (October 8) at 1.30pm to discuss progress on refurbishment plans. 

Gunnedah roundtable member Kate McGrath, who participated in the NSW parliamentary health inquiry when it hosted a hearing in Gunnedah in June, welcomed the approach by HNEH for community discussion on the hospital. But she said there was little use mulling over facility improvements when there was a lack of medical professionals to staff it. 

“It’s good they have committed to doing this and I hope as many people who want to have their say, can do so,” Ms McGrath said. 

"But what we want to know is how they intend to fix the staffing issues." 

Ms McGrath highlighted the case of the Parkes community which faced a similar predicament in 2015 after building a new $72 million hospital but also running into staffing issues. 

"We’ve been fed the line ‘build it and they will come' but the evidence is not the case,” she said. 

“We've seen in other instances where there is a brand-new facility but no staff." 

Ms McGrath hoped the consultation would not only hear community concerns but action them as well. 

“I hope they don’t just fob us off because we really need to get this right," she said. 

The state government’s 2021 budget handed down a $500,000 payment to start the Gunnedah Hospital design and consultation process but it has been more than two years since the redevelopment was announced. 

“If it was beneficial to the state government, it would expedite the redevelopment," she said. 

Executive director infrastructure and planning, Hunter New England Health, Dr Ramsey Awad said the community information session would provide an opportunity to hear directly from the project team and learn more about the planning for the redevelopment. 

"Building a hospital of this size requires significant planning and this session will be a great opportunity for people in the local community to get an understanding of the project," Dr Awad said. 

“We are at the very early stage in the redevelopment planning process, however, we're keen to ensure the community is kept up to date. 

“The online session will also include an overview of the substantial site investigation work that is underway and will help inform master planning. 

“All members of the community are welcome to attend the information session and we encourage the community to consider and submit questions in advance for this session.” 

The NSW government has committed $53 million towards the redevelopment of Gunnedah Hospital. 

The hospital redevelopment and is on track to open to patients in 2025. 

"A key aim of the redevelopment is to provide a contemporary health facility that is culturally appropriate and welcoming,” Dr Awad said. 

"The redevelopment recently moved another step forward with the appointment of the lead project team including the architect, project manager and cost manager. 

"Over the coming months, the project team will be developing a campus master plan for the redevelopment, tailored to Gunnedah's health needs.

We look forward to continuing consultation with the community about the master plan and early design to seek feedback and hear ideas on how we can meets the needs of our area.”

To book into the online webinar, email the Gunnedah Hospital redevelopment project team at HI-Gunnedah-Redevelopment@

Questions may also be submitted in advance via this email. While there is no cut-off date to register, the community is encouraged to register as early as possible.

A summary of the Q&A and the session will be made available after the webinar.

The project team said it is committed to community engagement throughout the planning and design phases of the project and looks forward to delivering the project for the Gunnedah and surrounding community.