MEDICAL services in Shoalhaven will have room to expand after the announcement of plans for a health precinct around the hospital and cancer centre.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner was in Nowra yesterday to announce an agreement to acquire most of Nowra Park to enable the future creation of a health precinct.
She said the acquisition would future- proof Shoalhaven Hospital’s campus for potential expansion and secure the area around it for the development of health infrastructure.
The Medicare Local facility will be built in the area on Scenic Drive between the hospital and the cancer care clinic, while a GP super clinic and medical training centre is proposed for the area adjacent to the helipad and down to Shoalhaven Street.
An area in the south-western corner of Nowra Park will be retained, as will the preschool.
Mrs Skinner said the agreement meant Shoalhaven Hospital “really is the hub of health care in this part of the world and long awaited and deserved by local people”.
“[University of Wollongong] and representatives from Shoalhaven City Council along with Gareth Ward and Shelley Hancock came to see me in Parliament recently with a proposal to allow some of the land on this site to be used for educational purposes.
“The university is very keen to extend health educational opportunities onto this campus into the future and that is what we have now ensured.
“The GP super clinic will bring GPs, the primary healthcare sector onto this site. It’s a Commonwealth facility, very important in the integration of health care across the system.
“People who have occasions of service with GPs and other community based health care might then have tertiary level, acute level care in the hospital and then go back to primary care. That’s why it’s so important to have them all on the same site so patients can have one-stop shopping when it comes to getting complete health care.
“The lower part of the site [closer to Shoalhaven Street] is designed for future use and will now go into the planning mix. The local health district will decide what future uses are required as the population grows and health care needs are identified.
“In terms of the education precinct there is likely to be training of the medical workforce here.”