Scot MacDonald
Adjournment Debate on Gosford Hospital Redevelopment
29th Mar 2017


Mr SCOT MacDONALD ( 22:28 ): The community of Gosford have a world-class health service and will soon have a world-class new hospital. This week Premier Gladys Berejiklian; the Minister for Health, the Hon. Brad Hazzard; the member for Terrigal, Mr Adam Crouch; the Liberal candidate for Gosford, Ms Jilly Pilon, and I inspected the progress of the $348 million redevelopment. It is outstanding, it is on budget and it is on time. Great patient care follows on from the best health infrastructure, and that is exactly what the people of Gosford will have when work is completed in 2019.

This was a commitment from the Liberal Government following 16 years of Labor neglect. I saw the conditions in which NSW Labor left the hospital when it was rightly kicked out of office for ignoring regions such as the Central Coast. In spite of the best endeavours of the staff, they were wrestling with wards and facilities that had not been fit for purpose for close to two decades. Inevitably that meant poorer health service delivery under Labor. In 2010, under Labor, 91 per cent of patients got their elective surgery on time. That figure is now 97 per cent. Under Labor 49 per cent of patients left the emergency department in under four hours. That figure is now 68 per cent. In the intervening six years under the Liberal-Nationals Government there has been a massive jump in presentations and utilisation of the Gosford Hospital. In other words, the staff are better resourced and healthcare turn-around is faster despite a growing population.

The rebuilt Gosford Hospital has a new car park with 800 extra spaces and a medical research centre dedicated to the Central Coast that will be the envy of the State and nation. It will include: a new nuclear medicine facility; a state-of-the-art emergency department; an enhanced operating theatre capacity; new cardiovascular services; new maternity services, including a new birthing unit plus special care nursery and inpatient beds; expanded paediatric services; a new coronary care unit and inpatient beds; a new psychiatric care centre; and extra cancer services.

It is worth noting a few facts about this major project. To date over 15,000 cubic metres of concrete have been poured and the workforce peaked at 350 and now has 250 people on site. Lend Lease is close to its target of 8 per cent of its workforce being Indigenous. The Bara Barang Aboriginal Corporation is operating the Coolamon canteen at the construction offices. Lend Lease reports it is utilising as much Coastie trade and services as possible. Jilly Pilon met workers who were very relieved to be working on a local site rather than commuting to Sydney.

The Gosford and wider Central Coast community is universally proud of the hospital development. I am receiving positive feedback about the 800 extra car spaces. The only group that is not supportive of the new health infrastructure and health workers is the Australian Labor Party. The Opposition's health spokesperson has publicly questioned the clinical staff and clinical plans. Labor's health spokesperson has a record of casting doubt on the health system and is on a warning from the Australian Medical Association [AMA] to stop ambulance chasing and undermining the New South Wales public health system.

The AMA has also rejected Opposition Leader Luke Foley's proposed nurse walk-in centres in Gosford. Staff at Gosford Hospital report to me extensive planning has gone into the new clinical plans and capital works around the rebuilt hospital. It would be extremely disruptive and expensive to attempt to bolt on a nurse walk-in centre somewhere in Gosford. Inevitably Labor's plans would delay the completion of Gosford Hospital. Why does everything Labor touch turn into a disaster? The losers of Labor's plans would be the Central Coast community who use the public health system and the taxpayers of New South Wales.

I want to say a few words about the Central Coast Medical School Research Institute. What a coup for Coasties. The credit must attach to Lucy Wicks, MP, for her vision. The Commonwealth has contributed $32.5 million and the New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government and the University of Newcastle have each contributed $20 million. This is an international-scale institute to be located on the Gosford Hospital campus. Besides driving health science innovation, research and medical education, the institute's goal is to improve the Central Coast community's wellbeing.

The Gosford Hospital rebuild is an exciting, landmark development. The only cloud on the horizon is the potential election of Labor in Gosford and the State. There is an opportunity to get behind a genuine community champion in Jilly Pilon on 8 April. She will ensure we stay the course and deliver the best public health care at a world class health campus in Gosford. I place on record my gratitude and admiration for all the staff of the Central Coast Local Health District. At all levels they are a credit to themselves, their community and their professions. They deserve our ongoing support.