The new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital will be opened with Level 4 capacity, in news the Eurobodalla region had been waiting years to hear.
“We know it’s a significant commitment, but it’s one that this growing community absolutely needs,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said on Friday (14 April).
Mr Minns had travelled to Moruya for the announcement, joined by local MPs, NSW Health officials, representatives of the Aboriginal community and others.
Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland said the announcement would see people from across the South Coast region receive the care they need.
“This is not just an issue for the Eurobodalla,” Dr Holland said.
“This is an issue of providing first-rate, world-class health care for the whole Bega electorate, from Batemans Bay to Eden, and in cooperation with our wonderful South East Regional Hospital Bega we’ll achieve that in the future.”
South Coast MP Liza Butler said the construction of the new hospital would benefit many in the electorate who needed to travel for childbirth care.
“I spent quite a few days here about five weeks ago in Moruya Hospital and the staff were absolutely fabulous, but the current hospital is really past its use-by date,” she said.
The announcement came after a lengthy, and at times bitter, campaign for the new hospital to be declared as a Level 4 facility.
NSW Health Infrastructure chief executive Rebecca Wark said the facility was expected to be open in 2025.
“We’re quite a long way through our design and development phase, [and] we have tendered for a builder,” she said.
Southern NSW Local Health District CEO Margaret Bennett said Eurobodalla Regional Hospital would be fully staffed upon opening, despite ongoing personnel issues plaguing the NSW healthcare system.
“One of my great excitements is the fact that we’ve now got some young Aboriginal women training as midwives,” she said.
This would involve a combination of recruitment, retention and career development – at the new hospital and others around the state.
“That’s what you would be expecting of me and my team at the moment, [which is] that we’re doing all the work that’s not visible, but it is critical to making sure that when we gather here on the opening that everything is as it should be,” Ms Bennett said.
Mr Minns reiterated his Government’s commitment to “safe staffing levels” in NSW health districts, and said it was also looking to recruit 500 more paramedics for regional areas.
Ms Bennett also acknowledged the community-led campaign to fundraise to cover the cost of establishing carers’ accommodation at the hospital.
“That’s just another example of the strong community support and the excitement that sits behind the development here [in Eurobodalla].”
Mr Minns said the new hospital would improve healthcare offerings on the South Coast.
“It’s exciting to think that at the conclusion of construction, this Level 4 hospital will be open with the staffing and resources and infrastructure that this community absolutely needs.”