Parliamentary Secretary for the South Coast Gareth Ward MP has today hosted a Shoalhaven Health Roundtable with special guest the NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard MP held at the Bomaderry Bowling Club.
Mr Ward and Minister Hazzard were joined by The Hon Paul Green MLC, Margot Mains, Chief Executive and Professor Denis King from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, a number of local allied health professionals and local auxiliary groups from across our region at the roundtable.
Also in attendance was Brad Scotcher, Director of Nursing, Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital and Karon Stalgis, Director of Nursing, David Berry Hospital.
“The Shoalhaven Health Roundtable today was a great opportunity to collaborate with local stakeholders and health professionals from across the Shoalhaven and I thank the Health Minister Brad Hazzard for accepting my invitation to attend today,” Mr Ward said.
“It has allowed us to have open and meaningful discussion about what’s important to those who are providing care to local patients.
“We’ve heard about the growth and development of the Shoalhaven Hospital campus in recent years and how that $50 million investment has made an impact, but also what’s being planned for the future and how we can work together to make that happen.
“Hearing from clinical staff and those that support the delivery of frontline care to our communities is crucial. It has been terrific to hear from them today.
“This Hospital campus has been transformed in recent years to allow more locals to receive treatment closer to home,” Mr Ward said.
“The $31.1 million Cancer Care Centre opened almost five years ago and has already received a $5.5 million funding boost from the NSW Government for the addition of a second linear accelerator commissioned in 2017.
“The $10.1 million purpose-built sub-acute mental health unit has seen more people than ever with mental health issues access specialised services to help them get back to life in the community with their family and friends.
“The $1.5 million investment in a dedicated endoscopy suite has improved access to endoscopy services.
“The $1.8 million investment in the Shoalhaven emergency department reconfiguration and expansion which opened last year. This is aimed at improving the flow of patients through the busy area and is ultimately designed to reduce wait times.
“The $1.35 million for refurbishment of medical ward B to create a purpose-designed dedicated aged care unit has also allowed older patients in the community to received specialised care.
“Work has also now commenced on a $10.78 million upgrade of the parking facilities at Shoalhaven which will almost double capacity once completed.
“Additional funding has been allocated to Shoalhaven Hospital’s operational budget last financial year. In 2017-18 the budget for Shoalhaven Hospital was $134.2 million – an increase of almost $12 million on the previous year.
“Between June 2012 and June 2017, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District recruited more than 870 additional staff across the District including 160 more doctors, 355 more nurses and over 100 allied health staff,” he said.
“While there will always be challenges, it’s about working with the District to make every dollar go further. We know the Shoalhaven is an ageing population and there will always be a growing need for health care.
“The Master Plan gives the District, staff and the local community a very clear sense of the future development of health services on the hospital site. It outlines what the community’s needs will likely be and how the site will accommodate future infrastructure.
“The Master Plan looks at the next decade so it’s important to have a clear way forward, but also be responsive to change over that time,” Mr Ward concluded.