Health and business groups have welcomed the government's announcement that it will spend $780 million on the redevelopment of John Hunter Hospital if it is re-elected.
The plan, announced on Sunday, would result in a significant expansion of the existing site and incorporate new emergency medicine, cancer care and surgical services.
The Labor Party pledged to match the government's commitment to redevelop the hospital within hours of Sunday's announcement.
Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Bob Hawes said the expansion of the health precinct would provide a substantial boost to the regional economy, enhance the innovation sector and provide the community with better health care.
“Redevelopment of the John Hunter campus will deliver increased and improved clinical capacity and facilitate an enhanced health, education and research precinct servicing the region and northern NSW,” Mr Hawes said.
“The precinct will meet increasing demand for a broad range of health services and contribute significantly to the development of the region’s knowledge sector, driving employment growth and economic diversification."
Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes said problems with the existing hospital were well known.
"Everyone who has visited the campus is well aware of the congestion and bottleneck issues outside, inside we’re aware many wards and units are in need of improvements to bring the hospital back up to the standard local patients should experience," he said.
"We look forward to the commencement of consultations with nurses and midwives for any future redevelopment.”
Mr Holmes called for the introduction of mandated nurse-to-patient ratios to be included in the redevelopment.
"We already know Hunter patients missed out on almost 7,000 hours of care that was not delivered by Hunter New England Local Health District in 2016-17. Mandated ratios could’ve prevented this," he said.
It is estimated the redevelopment project would create about 8000 jobs in the construction phase.
"This is a huge win for the Hunter from the NSW Liberal Party," Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said.
"It continues on a track record of commitment and delivery of key infrastructure."