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NSW GOVERNMENT CAN’T FIND $1 MILLION FOR WOLLONGONG HOSPITAL IN A $24 BILLION HEALTH BUDGET

September 06, 2019

The Berejiklian Government has confirmed that it can’t find $1 million to refurbish a ‘ghost ward’ with 35 extra beds in a health budget of nearly $24 billion.

 

The extraordinary revelation came from Budget Estimates Committee hearings covering the health portfolio in Sydney yesterday.

 

The Ministry of Health confirmed that a request from Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District was received for funding to upgrade the Wollongong Hospital maternity unit and refurbishment of the B7 ward.

 

Department officials confirmed:

 

The letter asked for $2.2 million for maternity and $1 million for the ward refurbishment of 35 beds…we were not able to find the money for both so we provided the $2.2 million for the maternity upgrade.

 

Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully said he was outraged that both projects could not be funded.

 

“It is simply extraordinary that the Berejiklian Government could not find $1 million to put 35 extra beds online to help ease some of the substantial pressure Wollongong Hospital has been under after years of chronic underfunding.

 

“The request for additional funding from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District was extremely modest given the real funding increase which is necessary at Wollongong Hospital.

 

“Yet the Government just couldn’t bring itself to loosen the purse strings so it could fund opening up 35 extra hospital beds as well as upgrade the maternity unit.

 

Shadow Minister for Health, Ryan Park said, “What’s the point of ring-fencing a large budget surplus if the Government can’t see the potential of opening 35 extra beds for Wollongong Hospital, which is bulging at the seams and struggling to meet increasing patient demand.”

 

Statistics from the independent Bureau of Health Information for the last quarter shows long waiting times at Wollongong Hospital Emergency Department and a waiting list for elective surgery that has grown by 63 per cent over the last four years.

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