The city’s hospital is to return to its old name of Wagga Base Hospital.
The name change comes as a result of a community survey regarding the title of the new facility, which opened in January 2016 replacing the former Wagga Base with the name Wagga Rural Referral Hospital.
Campaigner Catherine Pierce, who has led an almost single-handed battle to have the name restored, said she was “over the moon” about the announcement.
“I can’t believe it. It’s such a relief,” the Wagga woman said.
“Now I feel like I can get on with my life.”
Mrs Pierce collected more than 4100 signatures on a petition calling for the change, after she became trapped in a lift at the hospital and could not make the name of the location clear to the emergency call operator.
Chief executive Jill Ludford said MLHD has listened to the community and the results of the recent community survey.
“While the naming of the new hospital to reflect its changed function was in accordance with NSW Hospital naming policy, it became clear the local community felt very strongly about the naming of their public hospital,” Ms Ludford said.
“The District actively sought the views of the community through the survey.”
The survey received a total of 6570 votes by the closing date of December 6, with Wagga Base Hospital receiving 61 per cent of votes.
“The results clearly show the majority of the people who voted preferred a return to the name Wagga Base Hospital,” Ms Ludford said.
An online poll conducted by The Daily Advertiser attracted more than 1870 votes.
Of these, 85.5 per cent were in favour of returning to the previous name of Wagga Base Hospital, with 8.0 per cent nominating Wagga Hospital as their preferred option.
Just 6.5 per cent supported the retention of the Rural Referral Hospital title.
Ms Ludford acknowledged the “strong advocacy” from those staff and the Wagga Local Health Advisory Committee who called for the Wagga Rural Referral Hospital name to be retained.
“While the hospital will revert to its former name, it will not change the role or function of the region’s largest public hospital,” she said.
Ms Ludford acknowledged the efforts of Mrs Pierce in championing a return to the former name.
Signage and other naming will be replaced over time.
Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire MP and Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack have backed the decision.
“I am pleased the District has resolved the name issue and can now look forward to the third and final stage of the hospital,” Mr Maguire said.