Pictured: Manly Hospital's Dr Sarah Woodbury (centre); and MPs Rob Stokes and Brad Hazzard; Mona Vale Hospital's Dr Nick Stow; MPs Jonathan O'Dea and Mike Baird. Picture: SIMON COCKSEDGE

The NSW Coalition has pledged $125m towards capital health works on the Northern Beaches and patients are one step closer to getting the long overdue level 5 hospital built, as called for in SHOROC’s Shaping Our Future strategy.

This means that should the Coalition win the March 26 NSW Election – with opinion polls currently predicting a  victory – construction will start on the new Level 5 hospital in the next four years.

Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said “This is a commitment to get the ball rolling”. “There have been rumours it would never happen, that it’s a mirage … This commitment is about the Coalition putting its money where its mouth it.”

This is the biggest funding boost yet for the long-awaited level-five hospital at Frenchs Forest and the money will go towards construction within the Coalition’s first term, should it win the election.

Manly MP and Shadow Treasurer Mike Baird said that “if elected into government we will start building as soon as possible within the first term and it will be completed in the second term, regardless of who is in government.

The NSW Coalition health pledge includes:

  • $125m pledged towards building a level-five hospital at Frenchs Forest
  • Construction will begin in the first term of a Coalition government.
  • Maternity services will return to Mona Vale Hospital as soon as possible if the Coalition is elected and will remain there at least until the Frenchs Forest hospital is up and running.
  • Manly Hospital will remain open until the new hospital is up and running and then will no longer operate as a hospital, but be used for community use such as aged care or mental health.

The health pledge made by the Coalition is directly in-line with the health priorities outlined in the SHOROC Shaping Our Future strategy that has already been backed by local government at Manly, Warringah, Pittwater and Mosman and local MP’s. Shaping Our Future calls for:

  • Immediate construction of the Level 5 Northern Beaches Hospital at Frenchs Forest
  • Mona Vale Hospital retained, with appropriate upgrades to enable a long term complementary role
  • Improvements to mental health and public health services offered to the broad community
  • Improved access to nursing homes, ambulance services and geriatric services.

“Importantly while the new hospital is being built full services will be retained at Manly and Mona Vale hospitals – they will not be stripped bare as the current government has done”, said Mr Baird. “”We have committed to retain the Manly Hospital site for community use such as aged care or mental health.

Manly Medical Staff Council chair Michele Franks said: “At the moment, we don’t have the services we need to serve this community because we have two small hospitals. We’re having to transport people out of the area or between the hospitals.”

“The Level 5 hospital will mean local patients will not have to be transferred to another hospital out of the Northern Beaches to get treatment.”

“Each dollar invested in a Level 5 hospital on a new site will deliver greater value for patients than by trying to upgrade our existing hospitals which have been badly run down over many years.