by Anna Watson

Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP, has written to the Minister for Health, The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP, urging him to fast-track the construction of the new Shellharbour Hospital, following the recent budget announcement containing a pushed-back completion target.

On 8 September 2020, the Premier, Treasurer and the Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard MP, announced that a brand-new replacement for Shellharbour Hospital would be built on a greenfield site. At the time, Minister Hazzard stated that work would start in “around 18 months” and he hoped the new hospital would be completed in five years.

“A commitment was made to build the Shellharbour Hospital on a new site on 8th September 2020, with a site identified and announced by the Minister for Health on 20th May, 2021.” Said Ms Watson.

“Since then, no land has actually been purchased to allow proper planning to begin, and now in this 2022-23 Budget, the deadline for the Shellharbour Hospital has been pushed back yet another year, with the completion date now listed as 2028. That’s 6 long years from now.” Said Ms Watson.

“The Shellharbour community and the Illawarra as a whole are struggling to access GP services, with waits exceeding multiple weeks, and over a month in some cases. Shellharbour and Wollongong Hospitals’ Emergency Departments are overflowing, with bed-block being a daily occurrence. Ambulance bays are full and blocked for a number of hours at a time, removing crucial ambulance services from the community as they wait to offload patients to hospital beds that are simply not available.”

“The alleviating of this growing pressure on the region’s health services must be prioritised, or members of the community will pay with their health, and their lives.”

“My community deserves better. Shellharbour Hospital must be fast-tracked. There is no more time to wait”. Said Ms Watson.