Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jil­lian McKee

THE num­ber of beds at Mt Druitt Hospi­tal has been re­duced dra­mat­i­cally since its open­ing more than 30 years ago it has been claimed, prompt­ing calls to pump funds back into the fa­cil­ity.

Fed-up res­i­dents have formed an ac­tion group to lobby the State Gov­ern­ment to re­store it to its former glory.

MT DRUITT Hospi­tal’s ca­pac­ity has halved since it opened more than 30 years ago, it has been claimed.

The hospi­tal is now op­er­at­ing with a lit­tle over 100 beds, hav­ing opened in 1982 as a 200-bed hospi­tal, Mt Druitt state La­bor MP Ed­mond Atalla says.

The fa­cil­ity has also seen clo­sures to med­i­cal and car­diac wards, as well as the emer­gency surgery ward.

Of the $400 mil­lion pro­vided for stage two of the Black­town/Mt Druitt Hosp­tial re­de­vel­op­ment, Mt Druitt Hospi­tal has been al­lo­cated just $20.42 mil­lion, with the re­main­der spent on Black­town Hospi­tal.

Mr Atalla said cuts to med­i­cal and emer­gency surgery were detri­men­tal to the area.

“Not hav­ing a med­i­cal ward gives a false sense of hope for pa­tients when they come to Mt Druitt,” Mr Atalla said. “They can’t be hos­pi­talised as there is no ward. I be­lieve the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to shut down Mt Druitt (Hospi­tal).”

Mt Druitt Hospi­tal has been re­named Black­town/ Mt Druitt Hospi­tal, in what Mr Atalla says is a move to re­duce the im­por­tance of Mt Druitt as a stand-alone hospi­tal.

“Black­town Hospi­tal has now reached cri­sis point,” Mr Atalla said. “The State Gov­ern­ment has got its pri­or­i­ties to­tally wrong, Western Syd­ney has been ac­knowl­edged as a pri­or­ity growth area, with thou­sands of res­i­dents mov­ing into Mars­den Park soon. We need to strengthen Mt Druitt Hospi­tal,” he said.

Fed-up res­i­dents have started an ac­tion group to raise aware­ness about the is­sues faced by the hospi­tal and lobby the State Gov­ern­ment for more fund­ing.

Gayle Barba­gallo, of Rooty Hill, runs the group.

“We have the room and the ca­pac­ity at Mt Druitt, we have the beds and the op­er­at­ing suites we just need the doc­tors, nurses and sur­geons to come here,” she said. The group aims to get the med­i­cal and emer­gency surgery ser­vices re­stored.

Mt Druitt/Black­town Hospi­tal gen­eral man­ager Sue-Anne Red­mond re­jected claims the hospi­tal had been down­graded.

“Mt Druitt Hospi­tal has not been down­graded,” she said. “In fact, ser­vices have in­creased un­der the ex­pan­sion project with the aim of pro­vid­ing a bet­ter range of ser­vices in Western Syd­ney,” she said. Ms Red­mond also re­jected claims the bed ca­pac­ity had halved.

“The NSW Gov­ern­ment has re­sponded to the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, de­liv­er­ing the ma­jor de­vel­op­ment of both Black­town and Mt Druitt hos­pi­tals, worth more than $680 mil­lion,” she said.

‘‘ I be­lieve the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to shut down Mt Druitt (Hospi­tal). – ED­MOND ATALLA

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