OPINION

Shire Matters with Mark Speakman: Sutherland Hospital looks to the future

Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Attorney General Mark Speakman.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Attorney General Mark Speakman.

Sutherland Hospital has carried the motto "Endeavour to Serve" since its inception in 1958. Nowadays it's a major metropolitan and teaching hospital, each year admitting around 28,000 patients and caring for more than 50,000 people in its emergency department.

Hospitals, of course, aren't just bricks and mortar. We're fortunate in NSW to have highly trained and dedicated frontline healthcare workers, who've shone over the last extraordinarily difficult year, and passionate volunteers.

I was pleased this month to welcome the intern doctors who'll be launching a new phase in their careers at Sutherland Hospital. Great hospitals need great doctors - and plenty of them. Sutherland Hospital's 18 new recruits are among 1,041 intern doctors commencing across NSW this year. This figure, the largest intake of any state or territory in Australia, is a 35 per cent increase on 2011.

The NSW Government is investing $2.8 billion over four years in a record workforce boost of 8,300 frontline hospital staff, including 5,000 nurses and midwives. This investment will expand service capacity, while relieving pressure on our hardworking frontline staff.

The NSW Government recognises the need to future-proof the state's healthcare system and, importantly, is putting its money where its mouth is on the bricks and mortar. In 2018, the $63 million Sutherland Hospital redevelopment stage 1 was officially opened. The project included a new and expanded emergency department, new general medical unit, new general surgical inpatient unit and an expanded critical care unit. This followed the 2014 construction of a $9 million multi-storey car park providing an extra 300 car spaces.

The current $88 million stage of redevelopment of Sutherland Hospital features eight new operating theatres and two endoscopy suites. It includes $7 million for construction of an MRI suite, with a new MRI machine. This will mean that Sutherland Shire residents will no longer need to travel to St George Hospital for public hospital MRI services.

With our ageing population increasing, the demand for hospital services grows and becomes more complex. By providing record investment in healthcare, the NSW Government is supporting Sutherland Hospital to live up to its motto, and provide comprehensive, world-class health services to Shire residents.