Foley reaffirms $300 million to upgrade St George Hospital

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NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has today reaffirmed Labor’s $300 million commitment to upgrade St George Hospital – with construction to commence in its first term of government.

On his first full day in the job, Mr Foley visited St George Hospital with Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord and Labor candidates Chris Minns (Kogarah), O’Bray Smith (Oatley) and Steve Kamper (Rockdale).

Mr Foley said that this investment in St George Hospital would be a hallmark of a Labor Government – in contrast to the Abbott and Baird Liberal governments which are cutting billions of dollars from the NSW health system.

Mr Foley noted that Labor’s $300 million investment in St George Hospital will enable works to start in a first term:

  • Adding extra storeys above the Emergency Department;
  • Building a new Intensive Care Unit and high dependency and cardiac intensive care units; and
  • Expanding operating theatre capacity as part of a purpose built critical care floor.

By contrast, the Baird Government has only committed $4 million to St George Hospital for planning works – with a date set for 2021 before patients see any improvements.

“As Premier, my priority will be to ensure that capacity at major hospitals such as St George keep up with our growing population. This is a hospital that has been under-resourced for too long due to Abbott and Baird cuts,” Mr Foley said.

“Labor is committing $300 million to give the St George area the world class health facility it deserves.

“I am proud to be in the St George area on my first day in the job and to recommit that St George Hospital upgrade works will commence in a first term under a Labor Government. 

“A vote for Labor will see works commence in a first term. Under the Liberals, this hospital will continue to deteriorate and patients will be lucky to see any improvements before 2021.”

Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord paid tribute to the doctors, nurses and allied health staff at St George Hospital for doing an outstanding job despite the resource constraints. He noted that respected surgeons such as Dr David Morris had led the push against the Baird Government for more funding. 

“The Baird Government has cut $3 billion out of NSW hospitals – and the Abbott Government is ripping out another $15 billion. This is responsible for the crisis in emergency and elective surgery that we see at St George. Only Labor has a credible plan to modernise the ageing infrastructure at this hospital,” Mr Secord said. 

ST GEORGE HOSPITAL IN BRIEF

The emergency ward at St George Hospital is one of the most overstretched in NSW. 

  • Under the national benchmark, hospitals are required to treat 81 per cent of emergency patients within four hours of presentation. St George Hospital is well below target with 41 per cent waiting more than four hours for treatment.
  • Between July and September 2014, more than 870 patients were still in the Emergency Department nearly 14 hours after arriving.
  • The South East Sydney Local Health District Asset Strategic Plan 2012-2017 documented numerous failings at St George Hospital: “The current Intensive Care Unit capacity is saturated and land locked. There is one bathroom for 15 critical patients and nil for the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. There is a high infection control risk, refurbishment for hybrid theatres will not provide adequate space for technology.”
  • The Auditor General has confirmed that the bed occupancy rate at South Eastern Sydney hospitals is dangerously high at 92 per cent – indicating the emergency ward is reaching capacity.