JENNY Aitchison has defended the new $470 million Maitland Hospital development following concerns it had "miraculously shrunk" from what was originally proposed in 2011.
The Maitland MP said the new hospital - currently under construction at Metford - was something the community had all fought for, and one that would grow with the region.
"We have got nearly double the size of what we have had, and that's a really good outcome," Ms Aitchison said.
Maitland resident Rod Doherty - also a Cessnock councillor - had raised concerns the community was not getting the $766 million hospital originally proposed in an executive steering committee report in 2011.
He questioned why important services, such as a coronary care unit, were missing from the new hospital plans.
But Ms Aitchison said the new hospital was on a site that could be "significantly expanded".
"In terms of services, yes, I wish the government had put radiation in there," she said.
"As someone who has suffered cancer myself - I know first hand that people in regional areas tend to calculate that if they can't get radiation therapy in Maitland, they have to go to Gateshead or the Mater, which is an hour-plus travel everyday for a 15 minute appointment.
"I have put that argument to the government, and I will continue to put that argument to the government.
"And over time - because of the size of the site and the surrounding land - there is opportunities to look at that."
Ms Aitchison said she could not be held accountable for promises made "two Health Ministers ago" that were predicated on a different model of service delivery.
She had fought for the new hospital to remain in public hands rather than a public-private arrangement.
"I was not in Parliament in 2011, I didn't get here until 2015 - even though I was trying to get that hospital kept in public hands," she said.
"We've already got a private hospital in Maitland, why would we get another public-private one?
"We would have just been replacing what we have."
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