State to blame for hospital work delay: MPs

Construction delays to the New Bendigo Hospital have raised claims the chair of Bendigo Health’s board is neglecting community concerns.

Bendigo Labor MPs Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards accused chairman Michael Langdon of playing politics with the issue and said he was not doing enough to keep the project on track.

Ms Edwards said Dr Langdon and the state government needed to reveal when the new hospital would be opened, after Health Minister David Davis last week declined to say if the completion date of 2016 would be met.

“Dr Langdon publicly announced that when he became chair of the board in 2010 that he would not enter into any political debate,” she said.

“He has crossed that line. He needs to show now he does have the interests of patients first and not the Liberal Party and do all he can to make sure the new Bendigo Hospital is finished by 2016.”

Health Minister David Davis said last week he was proud of the progress being made with the new hospital.

“I can guarantee we’re going to get a great outcome for Bendigo,” he said. 

“I think you’re going to get the biggest hospital in country Victoria’s history, a hospital that’s $102 million more than Jacinta Allan promised.” 

Dr Langdon also defended the project yesterday and said he was confident the project would be a world class facility. 

He said it was “embarrasing” that members of the Labor party were criticising the timeline of the project.

“Bendigo Health is a community asset and should not be used as a political football by anyone, let alone our sitting members,” he said.“The New Bendigo Hospital is going to deliver a very special hospital for our region.

“I believe Ms Allan and Ms Edwards will be embarrassed when they see the plans for the new hospital and realise that all their negative comments are unfounded.”

Construction of the $630 million hospital was due to start late last year but the tender process was hampered by a contract agreement  that Lend Lease – one of the two consortia bidding for the contract – signed with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

Ms Allan said the tender process was a “complete shambles” and the project had become a “dog’s breakfast”.

She said the community were now left in doubt on whether the state government's own timeline would be met.

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