HOSPITAL NEEDS $1B
Nepean must double capacity to cater for growth
NEPEAN Hospital may require an almost $1 billion investment to cope with a growing population and increasing demands on the hospital.
A draft report, seen by The Standard, details a long list of upgrades needed if the hospital is to serve the region well until 2032.
Nepean Hospital would require almost twice as many beds as it now has, according to the report put together by doctors to inform planning.
Previously, political parties have committed up to $370 million to expansions at the hospital but that amount appears to be far below the needs of the growing region. ››
NEPEAN Hospital will need almost twice as many beds to cope with future population growth, according to a draft report compiled by hospital doctors to inform future upgrade plans.
The cost to cope with population expansions could total $950 million, almost three times more than the $370 committed by Labor and Liberal at the 2015 state election.
The 2015 draft report, obtained by The Standard, projects needs for the hospital out to 2032, in line with the State Government’s planning timeline, and shows the current 491 hospital beds needs to increase to 942 to cope with demand.
Emergency department presentations are set to increase from 65,344 in 2011 to a massive 143,733 in 2032 as the population increases.
The emergency department is at “critical capacity” and “requires expansion”.
Admissions will spike from 25,977 in 2011 to 57,140 in 2032. Medical Staff Coun- cil chairman Dr Nhi Nguyen said funding on a par with Westmead Hospital was needed for Nepean to cope.
“We are looking at $920 million or $950 million – $370 million will not be anywhere near close,” Dr Nguyen said.
“We know there isn’t an endless bucket of money but we also know we need to build a hospital that takes us into 2032.”
The report states the modelling doesn’t take into account further population growth from Badgerys Creek airport or for residential developments since 2014.
Dr Nguyen hopes ministry modelling adds those population rises to the report.
“With the next round of funding, we know that whatever we build now is what we’ll get for the next 10 or 15 years,” she said.
“We need to make sure the projections are done right and we factor in Badgerys Creek and other growth.”
Dr Nguyen said a repeat of the stage three upgrades, opened in 2012, where the hospital outgrew capacity in just 12 months should be avoided. There were 152,897 bed stays at Nepean in 2011, and the report expects that to increase to 294,084 at the end of the timeline.
An extra seven to 11 operating theatres are called for, with a dedicated theatre for caesarean sections.
Nepean Hospital has been transferring lower complexity surgery patients to Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains hospitals, but the report states those hospitals have limited capacity, capping how many patients that can be moved.
The report states developments of the One Hospital in the Blue Mountains and increasing capacity at Hawkesbury have been included as priorities in local health asset plans for years.
“However, neither of these developments have progressed,” the report stated, meaning the bulk of the burden for the region continues to fall on Nepean Hospital.