Plans for a private hospital, to be built next to Wollongong Hospital, have been revealed by the region's health chief, Professor Denis King.
"The proposal is for an on-site private facility, similar to those at other major teaching hospitals in NSW such as Royal North Shore, Prince of Wales, St Vincents, St George, Westmead and Nepean," Professor King said yesterday.
The facility had already been given the nod by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner and $4 million set aside for the plan.
"The minister has endorsed our proposal to look into the viability of co-locating a major private hospital on the Wollongong campus as part of the overall future strategic plan for the region's largest hospital," Professor King said.
‘‘As part of this process, we will work with the private sector with the view to achieving a potential development that will be of maximum benefit to the people of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven using both public and private sectors,’’ Prof King said.
‘‘Serious decisions’’ would be made in the next few months.
‘‘We hope by the end of the first quarter of next year we will have a comprehensive idea of what physical facilities we want on each of the sites,’’ Prof King said.
‘‘Within that timeframe we should be in a position to make a decision about what sort of facilities we want there, what it should look like, what it will do and how it will interact. Once that is done we will go to the private sector and call for tenders.’’
Prof King said a private facility would create synergy for services such as intensive care and radiology and attract top-class medical professionals to the region.
‘‘This will make the whole campus more attractive and easier to attract quality staff.’’
Prof King said the $27.8million upgrade to existing parking facilities at the hospital would ‘‘get us to the end of the current redevelopment of the hospital’’.
‘‘But we’ve got to think further ahead than that.’’
He said discussions had been held with Wollongong City Council to ease long-term traffic management issues for residents as the hospital developed.
“Looking into the potential of developing a co-located campus at Wollongong is a major leap forward for the region.
‘‘This is exciting news for our community, staff and clinicians as we look to build on Wollongong’s reputation and capacity as a major tertiary referral and teaching centre,’’ Prof King said.
The idea for a new private hospital for the Illawarra is nothing new with proposals in central Wollongong, in Berkeley and West Dapto stalling.