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.

Unfortunately for the patients, the population had already grown by over 15% when the project was announced in 2017, and now exceeds 30% – before completion! The hospital planners apparently did not notice that the NSW government continues to force rapid population increases beyond the scope of their planned upgrades.

Population growth by Local government area shows the total population growth of Canada Bay, Burwood and Strathfield local government areas exceeding the scale of service expansion in the governments hospital upgrade shortly after beginning construction.

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 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.