Labor announces $430 million to transform Westmead Hospital - without privatising electricity

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A Foley Labor Government will provide $430 million to redevelop Westmead Hospital – without privatising the State’s electricity assets – as part of its plan to respond to the growing health needs of Sydney’s west.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley made the announcement today at Westmead – and was joined by Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord and Labor Candidates Julia Finn (Granville) and James Shaw (Parramatta).

Mr Foley said Labor would provide $430 million to fund Stage One of the Westmead redevelopment. This will be out of the $3 billion Labor has unlocked for health and education infrastructure announced on Thursday as part of Labor’s plan A Better Way.

Labor's infrastructure plan for schools and hospitals commits $1 billion more than the Liberals – and this is without privatising the electricity network.

In total, Labor's A Better Way unlocks an additional $10.055 billion of infrastructure investment over the next 10 years. This is on top of the capital expenditure contained within the budget – valued at $15 billion per year.

The Stage One redevelopment will overhaul existing facilities which are temporary or have become aged and rundown over the past 35 years. Key elements include:

  • A new emergency department;
  • Up to 14 new operating theatres;
  • Additional beds, based on demand;
  • State-of-the-art pathology services; and
  • Co-location of all complex and critical care services.

“Labor’s commitment is unconditional whereas under the Liberals, the redevelopment will only proceed if NSW families agree to Mr Baird’s blackmail and the privatisation of the electricity network,” NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley said.

“Today’s announcement is about responding to the growing needs in Sydney’s west. Labor believes that health decisions must be based on our city’s future growth. As Western Sydney grows, Westmead Hospital must grow with it.

“Population projections indicate an additional one million people living in Western Sydney by 2031. The Local Health District has estimated that by 2021, the area will need 20 per cent more hospital beds.”

Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord said in regard to Westmead Hospital, Western Sydney families have only seen $5 million in planning money from the NSW Liberals-Nationals Government.

Furthermore, due to funding cuts by the Abbott and Baird Governments, the NSW health and hospital system is under pressure.

"Westmead is struggling with some of the longest emergency department waiting times in the State. Regrettably, 55 per cent of emergency patients wait more than four hours for treatment," Mr Secord said.

In 2013-14, the emergency department saw 66,857 patients. It also had 23,954 ambulance presentations and 5,300 births took place there.

"Westmead hospital was opened 35 years ago and it is time it was redeveloped to meet the changing needs of western Sydney families,” Mr Secord said.

“We need to support Westmead hospital and the services and clinical expertise it provides to Western Sydney and the entire State."

Labor Candidate for Parramatta James Shaw said: “This is an exciting announcement by Labor and would see Westmead Hospital modernised.”

Labor Candidate for Granville Julia Finn added: “The Baird Government is making a major hospital redevelopment contingent on a risky electricity privatisation. Labor’s commitment is unconditional and it is a measure of how much we believe in the doctors, nurses and staff at Westmead.”

Westmead is a specialist tertiary referral hospital for Western Sydney’s growing population and is also an important treatment, training and research hospital. 

The redevelopment plans are drawn from the Western Sydney Local Health District Asset Strategic Plan 2013-2023. This provides a staged and prioritised fit-out or re-configuration of existing buildings as well as a staged replacement of the buildings in the poorest condition. 

More than 1000 clinicians, other staff and community members have been consulted on the redevelopment.

The Western Sydney Local Health District Asset Strategic Plan 2013-2023 states that:

“Westmead Hospital was built in the 1970s, and most of it now in poor condition, with poor functionality and infrastructure that is regularly failing. This is leading to high levels of clinical service interruption, inappropriate working environments and excessive maintenance expenditure. Westmead is below the standard expected for a Principal Referral Hospital and the building services infrastructure, roofs and lifts need replacing very soon.”

“Westmead Hospital is experiencing significant capacity pressures with occupancy rates above the NSW Department of Health occupancy rate used for service planning of 85 per cent.”

“The proposed Westmead Redevelopment (and Infrastructure program) represents the first, and urgent investment required by this facility.”

Read more about Labor's plan to transform Westmead Hospital.