Having secured more than $700 million to build a new Shellharbour Hospital, Independent Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has started a petition to pressure the NSW Government to make changes.
Mr Ward said he has received considerable community feedback as part of the community consultation currently underway on the hospital plan.
Mr Ward is petitioning for a return to maternity services and a helipad as part of the hospital build.
“The former Labor Government closed maternity services at Shellharbour Hospital. It’s time to bring them back,” Mr Ward said.
“I get it. We need obstetricians to ensure a safe maternity unit and these specialists are very hard to attract to the regions.
“But given the growth in the southern Illawarra, it is necessary that the Health Department ensure these services are available rather than mum’s having to travel to Wollongong.
“It has also been drawn to my attention that the current proposed hospital design doesn’t have a helipad. I’m advised that patients will be taken by road from Albion Park Airport where the air ambulance is based.
“This is totally unacceptable.
“The current Shellharbour Hospital has a helipad. Given the new Shellharbour Hospital is proposed to cater for critical care, it makes no sense to build a major new hospital without this infrastructure and waste vital minutes transferring people from the airport.
“Whilst I’ve been told that the helipad is included in future designs, it would be far more affordable to build the helipad now rather than retrofit it at a future date.
“Whilst I am very proud to have secured this major investment for our region, I want to ensure this facility is as good as it can be.
“I encourage as many people as possible to sign this petition. Every signature helps make the strongest possible case to make improvements.
The petition can be accessed here.