If ever we needed proof that people still hold the power, than the fight for the Shellharbour hospital to remain in public hands is it.
Last week the NSW Liberal Government announced it would be shelving plans to part privatise the facility.
Instead Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward announced the government would keep the facility as public and would proceed with plans for a $251 million redevelopment.
The redevelopment is planned to start in the new year.
The front page of Saturday’s printed edition carrier the headline “We’ve Won” along with a photo of staff jumping for joy over the news.
The fight to retain the Shellharbour hospital has been a long and strong campaign.
It has had the overwhelming support of the local community in the Shellharbour region.
From public meetings where people attended in numbers and voiced their strong opinions in a very direct fashion
To public rallies where people waived the signs of protest.
From the cars that were decorated with slogans and driven around the streets.
This has been a very public battle, if you can excuse the pun.
On being greeted with the news, Nurse Nadia Rodriguez, from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association’s Shellharbour branch, said people were elated,” Ms Rodriguez said.
‘’We’ve literally been campaigning for 13 months and wearing our hearts on our sleeves and to finally get the correct decision is amazing.
‘’What this means is that we have universal health care for everyone; our patients will continue to receive high quality care and our staff finally have security.’’
The community, staff and local health district will now need to regroup and work together to deliver the best result possible on the redevelopment plans.
lllawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District chief executive Margot Mains said last week the redevelopment would enable the district to service the growing region.
‘’I look forward to working together with our staff and community towards the redevelopment, with a continued focus on providing high quality care to our patients, their families and carers.’’
A positive outcome for one of the fastest growing regions in the country.