ALMOST 12 months on from the first funding announcement, Leeton District Hospital's upgrade remains only in the planning phase.
The multi-million dollar upgrade was announced by then Member for Murray Austin Evans in early March.
Despite Mr Evans losing the seat at the state election shortly afterwards, the funding was in the budget and allocated to the hospital.
However, since then little in the way of construction work has gone ahead.
Instead, the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) has confirmed the upgrade is only at the planning stage.
MLHD cluster manager Craig McColm said early planning "was commencing".
"The asset and capital Works team met with the Leeton District Hospital staff in late December for a preliminary walk around the site," Mr McColm said.
"A project user group will be established in the coming months to provide input and expertise on the scope of works.
"The group will include both staff and community representatives.
"Feedback from staff and the community will help determine the priorities for the upgrade to ensure future local health needs are met."
When the $2.5 million dollar upgrade was announced, the government stated the money would be used to upgrade and expand the emergency department, maternity, pharmacy space, ambulatory care and ward refurbishments.
All of these needs and areas are currently being assessed, but no start date on work has been provided.
In terms of staffing at the Leeton hospital, there has been some good news, according to Mr McColm.
Three additional nursing staff were recruited at the hospital in December and interviews for an emergency care nurse practitioner have been conducted.
Medical services, including during out-of-hours at the hospital continue with support from local general practitioners and locum medical officers when the shire's doctors need a break.
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