The NSW Government has announced a $2.3 billion budget boost for world-class hospitals and health services in the state in 2018-19, with a new Liverpool health precinct and a $25 billion total health budget taking NSW towards the 2019 election.
It is a record-busting “people’s budget”, according to Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, with the government investing in an extra 300 doctors, an additional 950 nurses and midwives, and 120 more allied health professionals, taking the frontline clinical and clinical support staff numbers to over 105,000, while $8 billion over the next four years will be plunged into 40 new facilities, upgrades and redevelopments.
“Our government is committed to providing state-of-the-art health facilities for all of NSW,” Perrottet said.
“Not only are metropolitan and regional communities all over NSW benefiting from new and improved emergency departments, more inpatient wards and operating theatres and better intensive cares services, but the health construction boom is bringing jobs to towns across the state.”
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard announced a new world-class health, research and education precinct in Liverpool in Sydney’s west, with the NSW Government committing $740 million for the project. To be located at Liverpool Hospital, the precinct will create a hub for innovation and emerging technologies, boost the economy and create jobs growth.
The major redevelopment, which will commence in 2018/19, will see the expansion of Liverpool Hospital’s emergency department, neonatal intensive care, maternity and critical care capacity, as well as day surgery and radiology capacity. A comprehensive and integrated cancer centre providing inpatient, ambulatory, diagnostic and outpatient services and research facilities will also be built.
Hazzard said the budget bonanza would contribute to the state’s delivery of a high-tech hospital system.
“The NSW Government’s record health funding ensures our nurses, doctors and other clinicians can continue to provide the best possible care, supported by the most modern equipment in the newest facilities,” he said.
The budget includes a $115.1 million investment in three information and communication technology projects delivering electronic patient records and hospital pathology results, and the upgrade of the digital infrastructure across the state.
It also earmarks $17.7 million for the rollout of the Critical Communications Enhancement Program for NSW Ambulance that will consolidate more than 70 separate radio networks into a single platform, address priority blackspots, and lead to the development of a "Push to Talk" service on ruggedised smartphone handsets during network failures.
A further $11 million will go towards fostering cutting-edge research and clinical innovation with the second phase of the Medical Research Infrastructure Initiatives.
New major works and programs commencing in 2018-19 also include expanded inpatient, ambulatory care services and critical care services at Griffith Base Hospital, a Western Cancer Centre at Dubbo, a new Rural Health Infrastructure Program that will refurbish areas such as emergency departments, bathrooms, waiting areas, wards and treatment spaces of smaller rural facilities, including Tenterfield, Dungog, Scone and Gloucester.
The NSW budget also commits to continued health capital works including:
- the Westmead Hospital redevelopment (more than $188 million)
- the expansion of the Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals ($90 million)
- the Nepean Hospital and Integrated Ambulatory Services Redevelopment ($94 million, including the car park)
- fast-track works to expand and refurbish the birthing suite and refurbish existing theatres at St George Hospital ($10 million)
- the Bankstown-Lidcombe Emergency Department refurbishment ($6.5 million)
- hospital builds already in progress at Grafton, Inverell, Manning, Coffs Harbour, Cooma and Bowral (an extra $22.5 million in 2018-19, bringing the total 2018-19 allocation to $87 million)
- the next stage of Rouse Hill ($75 million)
- car parks at Campbelltown, Wyong and Port Macquarie hospitals ($33.6 million)
- planning for John Hunter, Nepean Stage 2, Sydney Children’s Hospital Westmead Stage 2, Albury medical care and obstetric and neonatal services, Canterbury, Bankstown, Shoalhaven (Nowra), Hornsby and Goulburn ambulatory care ($15 million)
- new hospital construction at Tweed, Macksville, Maitland, and Mudgee ($108.6 million)
- the Sydney Ambulance Metropolitan Infrastructure Strategy ($20 million) and the Rural Ambulance Infrastructure Reconfiguration program ($16.4 million).
Hazzard said the investments will create thousands of construction and health-related jobs in rural and regional NSW.
“This ongoing investment doesn’t just deliver vital health services to regional and rural areas but it also boosts jobs and the economy of local communities,” he said.
“Of the 40 hospital redevelopments or upgrades underway or set to commence in 2018-19, two thirds are in regional NSW with more projects still to come to benefit the bush.”
People living with mental illness, their families and carers will also benefit from $2.1 billion in mental health services and infrastructure funding.
“Our focus is to improve the lives of people in NSW living with mental illness by delivering better care in hospital and making supports available for them, their families and carers, in the community,” Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said.
The contribution includes the $700 million statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program to support the 10-year Living Well reform of mental health care in NSW.
“This is the biggest single investment in mental health infrastructure in Australia’s history and will help us build specialist mental health units in Western Sydney for young people, mothers and their babies, older people, and enhance ‘step-up step-down’ capacity in the community,” Davies said.
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