Concord Hospital upgrade – good to have something, but too little, too late

The hospital’s stage 1 upgrades due for completion in 2021 were designed to deal with a population increase of 20% over decades. The 2015 stage 1 plan aimed for the hospital to cope with a projected population increase of 20% over 10–15 years based on 2011 census figures. In 2011 the Canada Bay population in was 75,762.

Unfortunately for the patients, the population had already grown by 20% at the start of the project in 2016, and now exceeds 30% – before completion! The hospital planners did not notice that the NSW government continues to force rapid population increases – but has not planned services for it. (Data source: NSW Government population projections.)

Meanwhile, two-thirds of the hospital remains run-down, with no plans in hand from the NSW Government after stage 1. Complaints have included plaster falling off the walls, ceiling collapses, leaking roofs and finding a possum in an older part of the hospital.

Councillor Jago says, “People I speak to are grateful for the upgrade of about one-third of the hospital, even though the NSW Government has delayed it. But they also express deep concern about the development of the remainder of the hospital and its future capacity which is not yet even in the planning stage. The older parts of the hospital require urgent attention.”

“The growth in population has been a deliberate policy of the NSW government to force increased numbers of new dwellings in each council area. While deliberately creating this high growth, the government has failed to plan and implement the services required by the future population.

“The government must immediately allocate funds to initiate planning for the hospital’s next stage of development for the hospital. Also, future hospital development must take into account the higher projected population growth rates, with much larger scale in future.”

Concord Hospital is the major hospital provider in the Canada Bay, Burwood and Strathfield Local Government Areas, with significant inflows of patients from Sydney’s Western and Northern suburbs. Yet again, major infrastructure required locally lags behind the growth being imposed on local areas by the NSW government.

Current building work for Concord Hospital will include a new clinical services building for inpatient and outpatients in the Rusty Priest Centre for Rehabilitation of defence personnel, plus aged care and a comprehensive cancer centre. The government now expects completion in 2021 at a cost totalling $341 million.

See Charles Jago’s 2017 press release on the Concord Hospital upgrade.