Labor Commits to Reviving Central Coast Hospitals

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On his first visit to the region, Opposition Leader Luke Foley today committed that a Labor Government will put job creation, education and health at the forefront of its plan for the Central Coast. 

Mr Foley visited Wyong Hospital – accompanied by Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord and Labor candidates David Harris (Wyong), Kathy Smith (Gosford), Yasmin Catley (Swansea), Jeff Sundstrom (Terrigal) and David Mehan (The Entrance). 

Mr Foley said one of his first actions following his election as Labor leader this week was to ask Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord to develop a comprehensive policy to address the critical and growing health needs of the Coast – with a focus on repairing the damage done to hospitals in the region by state and federal Liberal Governments. 

“Sadly, the Liberals have neglected health and hospitals on the Central Coast – hardworking staff are doing their best for patients, but are hamstrung by funding cuts,” Mr Foley said.

“This Liberal Government has cut $3 billion from NSW health – it’s no surprise our hospitals are struggling, but the Central Coast has been hit the hardest.

“What’s more, Mike Baird has completely failed to stand up to Tony Abbott following his federal budget that cut $15 billion from the NSW health system. 

“The NSW Liberals have also been silent on Tony Abbott’s $5 GP tax, a measure guaranteed to put extra pressure on Central Coast emergency departments. 

“That is why I have instructed my Shadow Health Minister to develop Labor’s plan to revive Central Coast hospitals. Job creation, education and health are core Labor principles and are levellers in a society.”

Liberals’ Central Coast health record:

  • 46 per cent of patients at Gosford Hospital are waiting more than 4 hours for treatment in emergency departments.
  • 35 per cent of patients at Wyong Hospital are waiting more than 4 hours for treatment in emergency departments. Under national targets, hospitals are required to see 81 per cent of emergency patients within four hours.
  • Central Coast hospitals are almost at capacity, with a 95 per cent bed occupancy rate.
  • Central Coast hospitals failed to meet national targets for treating patients with imminently life-threatening conditions in 2013-14. 
  • Elective surgery waits at Gosford Hospital have blown out for ear, nose and throat surgery from 89 to 334 days in just one year; knee replacements from 293 to 311 days and tonsillectomies from 161 to 345 days.
  • At Wyong Hospital, the wait for hip replacements has skyrocketed from 99 to 278 days, and 30 to 73 days for prostatectomies.
  • Central Coast patients wait longer than anywhere else in Australia for elective surgery.

Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord said: “In the last few weeks, I have been meeting with patients, their families, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, paramedics and ambulance drivers to seek their feedback as I finalise Labor’s health policy. 

“It is encouraging to see our new Leader so focused on the Central Coast, the region in the most dire position after four years of this Liberal Government.

“The Liberals – both state and federal – have made savage cuts to health. Make no mistake, due to these cuts, elective surgery lists are longer and people are waiting longer for treatment in emergency departments.”