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Very substantial’: Government acquires land for new Sydney hospital
The booming population of north-west Sydney looks set to receive a “substantial” hospital in the next few years, with the NSW government acquiring a site just 200 metres from the Rouse Hill town centre and the yet-to-be-opened Rouse Hill metro station.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Friday announced the hospital will be built on the corner of Windsor and Schofields roads in the north-west, where the population is expected to soar to 250,000 over the next 10 years.
“The new development will commence in the next term of government,” he said, standing at the empty site alongside local MPs including Kevin Conolly and Ray Williams.
“A lot of planning will now go on with the local community and with the physicians to determine the range of services. It will be a very substantial hospital.”Advertisement
The government first promised to build a hospital in Rouse Hill in March 2015 if re-elected.
Two years later, it committed $300 million in its 2017-18 budget towards a “stage one” Rouse Hill Health Service, sparking questions about the size and range of services.N
Labor leader Michael Daley last week promised to build a 300-bed hospital in Rouse Hill that would offer a broad range of services, including maternity, obstetrics and paediatric wards, reflecting the needs of the young community.
Following Mr Hazzard’s announcement, Labor said the families of the north-west have a choice in the upcoming election: Labor’s $700 million North West Public Hospital or the Coalition’s “$225 million medical centre”.
“This election will be a referendum on health care in the north-west,” Labor’s shadow health spokesman Walt Secord said.
“The Liberals were unable to match Labor’s commitment because they were splurging more than $2 billion on stadiums.”
But Mr Hazzard rejected the comparison, saying the “initial” budget was $300 million and the government, if re-elected, would pour more money into the project “as it develops”.
“Labor promised a lot of things up in the north-west. We’re standing right in front of the metro that they promised 35 years ago,” he said while gesturing towards the skytrain railway bridge behind him.
“Labor doesn’t have a clue, he doesn’t even know about the site let alone what might get built here.”
The range of services and number of beds have yet to be decided. With the land now acquired, Mr Hazzard said there would be two years of planning before the start of construction.
Back in 2015, then premier Mike Baird said he hoped to open the hospital in 2023.
Mr Hazzard said the new hospital would not be a public-private partnership.
It’s a question that would be on the minds of voters amid concerns about patient safety and shortage of medical supplies at the newly opened Northern Beaches Hospital, operated by private hospital operator Healthscope.
This week, a Northern Beaches Hospital staff member claimed an elderly patient with a serious spinal injury had been “forgotten about” for three days because of an “administrative error”.
“[I’m not concerned because] often for clinical reasons it’s wise not to move patients and … I have absolute faith in the decisions made,” Mr Hazzard said.
Healthscope, which runs about 40 hospitals, on Friday agreed to a formal $4.4 billion takeover bid from Canada’s Brookfield Capital Partners.
Labor said “ultimate control” of the hospital might go overseas and demanded the government refer the takeover to the Foreign Investment Review Board.
“The bottom line has to be patient safety and the Berejiklian government has to ensure that patient safety is not compromised at the beleaguered hospital,” Mr Secord said.