NSW Labor today announced its first major health commitment for the 2019 State election.

A Labor Government will fully fund the stage four $370 million upgrade to Nepean Hospital – the State’s most under pressure hospital.

NSW Labor Opposition leader Luke Foley made the official announcement at a community rally near Nepean Hospital.

Labor has signalled health will be a key battleground in the next state election in March 2019. This was after the Baird Government failed to honour its 2015 pre-election promise to fund the hospital.

In this year’s State budget, the Baird Government provided just $1 million in planning money for the much-needed Stage four – a move that was slammed by local doctors at the time as ‘insulting and woefully inadequate’.

The paltry $1 million was a massive failure by western Sydney Liberal MPs Stuart Ayres (Penrith) and Tania Davies (Mulgoa) to deliver for the region. 

The $370 million redevelopment includes:

  • an enhanced Comprehensive Cancer Centre with chemotherapy;
  • radiation and oncology services;
  • enhanced renal, cardiology and neurology services;
  • a new High Dependency Unit;
  • new and enhanced birthing suites, and;
  • an enhanced emergency department.

Labor Opposition Leader Luke Foley, Member for Londonderry Prue Car and Federal Member for Lindsay Emma Husar were expected to speak alongside Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle. Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord will also attend.

The rally will take place at the corner of Rodgers Street and Somerset Street in Kingswood from 1pm to 3pm this Sunday 28 August.

In recent months, Nepean Hospital has struggled with a number of high profile controversies including:

  • the longest waiting list for elective surgery in NSW;
  • some of the longest waits for elective surgery in NSW  and some of the longest waits in emergency departments;
  • a baby breastmilk mix up;
  • a  decision to send some heart attack patients to other hospitals between 7am and 7pm on weekdays due to crumbling infrastructure; and
  • a decision to send young mothers to Katoomba for elective caesarean section procedures due to lack of resources at Nepean Hospital.

Labor’s commitment to Nepean comes as the hospital deals with the longest wait times in NSW. As of March 30, 2016, there were 3,092 patients waiting for elective surgery at Nepean Hospital. The median wait at Nepean Hospital is 341 days. 

Last year more than 67,000 people used Nepean’s emergency department and 51 per cent of patients waited longer than four hours in the emergency department.

The Nepean Blue Mountains area is experiencing population growth and demographic change. With the district’s population set to increase by 100,000 in the coming years, Labor is planning for the area’s future health needs.

The population is projected to increase by 28 per cent by 2036 across the Nepean Blue Mountain Local Health District (NBMLHD). 

Currently, the hospital assists with 3,800 births a year.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Western Sydney can’t wait any longer. Patients, doctors and nurses have been strung along for too long by this Government.

“When patients suffering heart attacks can’t be admitted because the roof is crumbling it is clear that the situation is critical.

“I am making a commitment this far out from the election that Labor will deliver on our promise to upgrade Nepean.

“Western Sydney has been let down by Mr Baird and his North Shore cabal. The people here need to know that they will have the best health care on their doorstep, not a 30 minute drive down the road.” 

Quotes attributable to Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord MLC

“Nepean Hospital is bursting at the seams. It is the State’s most under pressure hospital and Labor will fund the upgrade.

Quotes attributable to Member for Londonderry Prue Car

“Nepean Hospital is at breaking point and the Local Member Stuart Ayres has only managed to secure a mere $1 million for planning money.

“There are new suburbs in our region the size of small towns yet the State Government has failed to upgrade our hospital.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle 

“The Baird Government has neglected the Blue Mountains and western Sydney for far too long.

“The Blue Mountains community won’t keep taking second best from Mike Baird. This Sunday the community will let the Government know just how frustrated they are.”