ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) — Local leaders from Isle of Wight and Surry counties are promoting the need for a new hospital.

This comes after the Virginia Department of Health recommended the state deny Riverside Health System’s application to build a hospital in Smithfield, despite local governments and communities supporting the new hospital.

“Having a local hospital in the Smithfield area would undoubtedly cut response and turnaround times from EMS units dramatically, freeing up resources for other incidents in the county,” said Isle of Wight County Fire Rescue Chief Patrick Humphries during a news conference on Monday.

Humphries was joined at the press conference by Del. Emily Brewer, Board of Supervisors Chairperson Judy Lyttle, and a county resident who told a personal story on what a Smithfield hospital is needed.

The Virginia Department of health plans to hold an informal fact-finding conference on Friday in Richmond before the commissioner makes a final decision.

Riverside Health Systems previously said it was “deeply disappointed” in the recommendation to deny the application for the Smithfield hospital.

Riverside Health Systems released plans for the hospital in June, which call for 34 medical-surgical beds, 10 intensive care unit beds, and six obstetric beds, four general purpose operating rooms, and emergency department and other diagnostic, procedural and physician services.

VDH staff said they believed the hospital would duplicate medical resources already available in the Hampton Roads area. The staff also said the project would add to the region’s current surplus of medical-surgical beds.

The federal government has designated Isle of Wight and Surry counties as “medically underserved” and “health practitioner shortage areas.”

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