By Bev Jordan
More than 20 months after a major public announcement that the State Government would be building a hospital at Rouse Hill very little has happened.
Last week, The Hills to Hawkesbury Community News contacted Health Infrastructure (The NSW Government Department overseeing the project) to ask how far the plans for the new Rouse Hill Hospital had progressed.
A statement from a Department spokesman on October 15, included the lines: “Health Infrastructure is carrying out due diligence on the announced site at 768 Windsor Road … the due diligence will confirm whether the hospital can be built on the site and if the site acquisition should occur. “
When Health Minister Brad Hazzard stood at 768 Windsor Road, Rouse Hill in February 2019 flanked by local MPs he announced that the acquisition of the site formed part of the NSW Government’s $300 million commitment to a hospital at Rouse Hill.
“Planning, early design works and community consultation will ensure we deliver what the community needs and deserves,” Mr Hazzard said at the time.
“For 16 years Labor promised to build hospitals but time after time, they proved their promises weren’t worth the paper they were written on,” he said.
Last week’s Statement by Health Infrastructure (October 15, 2020) said:
“The NSW Government has announced $300 million for Stage 1 of the Rouse Hill Hospital. As part of the planning process, Health Infrastructure is carrying out due diligence on the announced site at 768 Windsor Road to inform the most appropriate long-term solution for the future hospital. The due diligence will confirm whether the hospital can be built on the site and if the site acquisition should occur.
“Health Infrastructure is also working with Transport for NSW to understand the impacts of future road upgrades proposed for the area to ensure appropriate access to the new hospital and for the residents of this fast-growing area of north western Sydney.
“As part of the planning process, Western Sydney Local Health District is collaborating with Macquarie University to understand the clinical services needs to inform the future design and services that will be provided in our next-gen hospital.
“Construction timeframes will be confirmed once site acquisition and planning is progressed. Work will commence in this term of Government.
“Hospital planning is a complex process that involves extensive consultation with staff, patients and the community to ensure the right clinical needs are met. “
Hills Shire Mayor, Michelle Byrne said there was a real need for the hospital in the growing area as soon as possible.
“Having recently spent some time in the Kids Hospital with my daughter, I can understand the real need for a hospital in Rouse Hill to alleviate the pressure on surrounding hospitals and to provide further access to medical facilities and services that cater for the growing population in north west Sydney.
“I call on Health Infrastructure NSW to complete their due diligence of the site and to get on with the planning and delivery of the Rouse Hill hospital. With the Hills population alone forecast to reach 190,000 by 2036, we will need this new health facility sooner rather than later.
“I have every confidence the NSW Government will deliver on their promise of a Rouse Hill hospital and we look forward to working with Health Infrastructure NSW and the Department of Planning & Infrastructure to deliver a premier health precinct around the new Rouse Hill hospital.”