THE future site of a critical transport service for newborns in Wagga remains unclear.
The Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS) has backed down on negotiations with Wagga City Council to sub-lease a site at the airport to store its ambulance in a secure garage.
While NETS is tight-lipped on its future site in Wagga, a council report details the statewide emergency service is negotiating a co-occupation arrangement with an existing airport tenant.
Council resolved in December 2013 to sub-lease with NETS a 300 square metre site at the Forest Hill airport.
The proposal – to cost $1980 each year for a five-year term, subject to consumer price index rent reviews – was subject to consent from the defence department and development consent.
NETS then submitted a partial development application, but never furnished a completed one, despite reminders and offers of assistance from council officers.
NETS recently advised council they no longer wanted to proceed, but reasons behind the decision are unclear.
A NETS spokesman confirmed negotiations with council had ceased, but the service still had plans to remain in the region.
“NETS is committed to maintaining the service in the Riverina to support NETS transports from hospitals in Wagga Wagga and in towns in the surrounding area,” a NETS spokesman said.
“Unfortunately the arrangement offered by Wagga Wagga Council was not suitable and NETS is continuing to explore other options in the area.”
NETS provides specialist nursing and medical teams to transport sick babies and children across the state via road ambulance, fixed wing and helicopter for paediatric or neonatal emergency hospital care.
It conducts about 80 retrievals from hospitals in Wagga and 20 from towns in surrounding areas each year.
A service of NSW Health and managed by the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, NETS provides expert clinical advice, clinical co-ordination, emergency treatment and inter-hospital transport for children up to the age of 16.
NETS’ decision to withdraw from the proposed arrangement will cost council an estimated $1,800 in rental income each year.
The matter will go before councillors on Monday night.
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