After years of pushing by the community and state MPs, Shoalhaven Hospital has finally received funding for a “major, world-class” upgrade.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced $434 million had been allocated for the redevelopment on November 1, with South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and Kiama MP Gareth Ward.
“On recent visits both these strong local members have asked me to come and tour the hospital to look at the needs of the growing community and the need for a major upgrade of the hospital,” she said.
“This is a major upgrade but one well worth it, one which has been in the making for a number of years.”
The upgrades will include new operating theatres, more elective surgery opportunities, greater maternity services, increased Emergency Department capacity, improved mental health services and expanded outpatient and ambulatory care zones.
Ms Berejiklian said the upgrade would service the community’s needs for at least the next 50 years.
“This is a growing community, a community which needs world-class health services, we need to plan for the future which is why this upgrade is so important,” she said.
“You build for the future so we’d like to see it last the test of time, at least half a century.”
Mater planning for the upgrade has already been completed and the hospital will remain functional as the redevelopment commences.
Mr Ward and Mrs Hancock have been vocal about the urgent need for a full upgrade of the hospital, and both said they were delighted with Thursday’s announcement.
“This is not about winning back our seats, Gareth and I have been working on this for a long, long time,” Mrs Hancock said.
“This is about the best thing for this community and what we can do here to help our workers, our nurses, our doctors.”
Mr Ward also thanked Shoalhaven resident Margot Johnston for her role in the funding announcement.
“[Margot] collected thousands of signatures which we’ve tabled in parliament,” he said. “That has gone a long way to putting the pressure on.”
Ms Berejiklian said the upgrade would happen in “the shortest amount of time possible”.
“It’s about time this happened now in the Shoalhaven and I’m very excited by the announcement,” she said.
“We will get cracking with the work and we will also make sure the community and the clinicians are part of the process.”