Shoalhaven councillor Nina Digiglio and GP Tim Bailey expressed they are "frustrated" and "disappointed" with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District revealing it is set to go through with plans to upgrade the current hospital site.
Rather than rebuilding a hospital on a new greenfields site, the ISLHD revealed they will be starting work on the $438 million upgrade of the current hospital site in the next few months.
The plans were revealed at a public meeting held by the Shoalhaven Hospital Action Group (SHAG) at the Bomaderry Community Centre on Wednesday evening.
Shoalhaven councillor Nina Digiglio said she was "very disappointed" to hear the work will be starting in the coming months.
"A consultation sitting hasn't happened. And we know that from tonight, there are a lot of disappointed residents," she said.
"And unfortunately, people that live in the Bay and Basin area are actually going to miss out and that's totally disappointing.
"And they're not my ward. But these are our people and to rip them off of essential services is dreadful."
GP in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Tim Bailey, who spoke at the meeting, called the move to continue with plans to upgrade the current site "ignorant."
"I'm absolutely frustrated by the lack of community consultation. It's quite ignorant as it ignores so many community issues," he said.
"Since 2012 there was a community agreement, which included endorsement from Councillor Joanna Gash and John Hatton [former State MP] , for the redevelopment of the hospital on a greenfields site.
"And the reason for that is the current site is not suited to ongoing development into the next few decades."
Dr Bailey outlined some of the issues with upgrading the current hospital site.
"It impinges a lot on recreational areas and on residential areas. And in fact, on some Aboriginal heritage sites," he said.
"Not only that, it's also just an old hospital and it's a bit dysfunctional. The last week it's been raining, fire alarms have been going off. It could just be planned much better.
"The Shoalhaven hospital redevelopment is significantly underfunded compared to any other hospital redevelopment. The greenfield site promises to, for the exact same price, provide 50 per cent more beds which is what the growing population needs."
Strongly advocating for a greenfield site, Dr Bailey asserted that this option would save future costs.
"Firstly...the cost of rebuilding on a greenfield site without the need for multi-storey buildings typically saves at least 30 per cent in construction costs," he said.
"The reason for this is the lack of the need for energy consumptive meters, stairways, and they are extremely robust, lower storey foundation structures.
"Not only will a new site relieve the pressure on transport in and out, it will also improve the efficiency of construction and ensure that our community receives the best bang for buck possible with our new hospital service."
However, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District CEO Margot Mains told the meeting moving the hospital would "significantly increase the cost of the project," reiterating that planning for the expanding of the current site has been going on for a decade.
She said part of the long-term planning for the current site included almost $65 million in upgrades being undertaken.
That includes the establishment of the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre ($31.3 million), a multi-level car park ($11.6m), sub acute mental health unit ($10m), emergency department refurbishment and endoscopy unit ($5m) and GP Superclinic ($7m).