Ward pushes for $300m Shellharbour Hospital revamp

Ian Power, Gareth Ward and Mark Jones. Picture: GREG TOTMAN
Ian Power, Gareth Ward and Mark Jones. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Kiama MP Gareth Ward has put his own government on notice - he won't stop fighting until funds are freed up for a $300 million upgrade of Shellharbour Hospital.

On Thursday Mr Ward moved a notice of motion in the NSW Legislative Assembly calling on the government to allocate "appropriate resources" in the next state budget for the major upgrade.

He thanked the government for the $6.7 million allocated in this year's state budget for the upgrade of the hospital's ambulatory care unit, but said more was required.

"It's now time to roll up our sleeves and fight for the major upgrade this hospital and our community require," he said.

"I put the government on notice - I will be fighting hard to deliver this upgrade.

"My first and foremost priority will always be my electorate and I intend on taking the fight up to the government and making the case about why this upgrade is important."

Mr Ward said the need for a major upgrade and expansion of Shellharbour Hospital had been identified in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's Health Care Service Plan 2012-2022.

The 10-year plan outlined a "hub and spoke" model of healthcare, with Shellharbour to join Wollongong and Shoalhaven hospitals as the major hubs for the region. The health district subsequently released a service plan for Shellharbour which called for a $250 million to $300 million upgrade of the hospital which would double its size from 150 to 330 beds.

Services on the drawing board for Shellharbour include 24-hour emergency surgery, an intensive care unit, increased theatre capacity and enhanced rehabilitation, geriatric and palliative care.

"The services plan hasn't concluded yet," Mr Ward said. "[Thursday's] motion was not about asking for a particular dollar amount, but about putting pressure on the government to ensure that this isn't just another report."

Mr Ward said the upgrade would better serve the Shellharbour community and in turn ease the pressure on Wollongong Hospital.

"Shellharbour is a rapidly growing community and we need a hospital that offers services which keep pace with demand," he said.

"I've spoken with patients who have experience of the hospital as well as the doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who work there. They all tell me how much this upgrade would improve the delivery of healthcare services in Shellharbour and beyond."

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