Ne­pean must dou­ble ca­pac­ity to cater for growth

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Elisha Pearce

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.

Ne­pean Hos­pi­tal.

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