Menai Electorate Hospital Services
|About this Item||Subjects||Aged; Community Centres; Hospitals; Mental Health; Surgery
||Speakers||Megarrity Ms Alison
||Business||Private Members Statements
Ms ALISON MEGARRITY (Menai—Parliamentary Secretary) [4.25 p.m.]: Residents of the Menai electorate are well served by three excellent hospitals at Bankstown, Liverpool and Sutherland. I would like to update the House on the services and facilities I witnessed first-hand on visits to two of those hospitals a few weeks ago. Last month the Premier, Morris Iemma, opened a $32 million state-of-the-art mental health centre at Liverpool hospital. It is providing a range of services for adults as well as children and young people. Opening the purpose-built two-storey facility, the Premier said that the incidence of mental illness was growing and the demand for mental health services was increasing. He said that a new approach to the delivery of mental health care was a national imperative. If only the Federal Government would honour its 2004 pre-election commitments, we would also have an after-hours bulk billing GP clinic at the hospital. I will have more to say about that in future.
Earlier this month I joined the Minister for Health, the honourable member for Miranda and the honourable member for Heathcote at Sutherland hospital to inspect progress on the construction of a $5 million community health centre. Honourable members will recall that since coming to office the Carr-Iemma Government has undertaken an $85 million redevelopment of Sutherland hospital. We have established a new accident and emergency section and units for day surgery, frail aged and dementia patients, and stroke victims. During our visit we were told that the new cardiac catheter laboratory was well under way, and we saw the site of the planned 112-bed aged care facility. I urge any honourable member who may have in the past visited the hospital or driven down The Kingsway and remembers that old and rundown facility to take a look at the new eye-catching one.
Even from the outside it is impressive. Better still, park in the brand new car park, walk into the foyer and view the information board, which lists the many and varied services provided on this comprehensive health campus. While there, honourable members may take refreshments at the excellent new garden kiosk. If the opportunity presents itself, honourable members should ask the hard-working nurses, doctors, support staff and volunteers for their opinion of the hospital. During our visit staff mentioned the high level of morale and one patient in the orthopaedic ward told us that she had been treated "like royalty".
It is, therefore, disappointing, to say the least, that a former member of this House and the present member for Cronulla have mounted a misinformation campaign to denigrate our shire's hospital and, in doing so, rubbished the efforts of the caring and diligent people who provide vital services every day of the week. They keep making misinformed statements to local newspapers that services are being downgraded. The honourable member for Cronulla does that regularly in this House. I know he has been under a lot of pressure lately regarding his preselection and that may account for some of his desperate tactics, but I really expected better of him. Now that that is all behind him, I hope he will come up to speed and stick to the facts in future.
In the House earlier this week he credited the "investigative reporting of the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader" for revealing the location of a proposed cannabis addiction treatment clinic in the $5 million community health centre currently under construction. While I would never seek to undermine the investigative capabilities of the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, the fact is that it received a media release from my colleague the honourable member for Miranda on 27 May 2005 headed "Cannabis Treatment Clinic for the Shire", as part of the budget deliberations and outcomes, and the story was front page—"Quit Cannabis-New Centre Offers Help"—in the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader on 31 May 2005.
So it is surprising that a local member has only just come up to speed with that development, following the most recent report in the newspaper of the Minister's visit to inspect construction progress on the new community health facility. The honourable member for Cronulla also claims that there has been no consultation on other aspects of the community health centre. I know, and he should know, that community service groups were even involved in the detailed designs of the internal layout of this facility. We are talking about our local hospital, one that is now a centre of excellence for orthopaedic surgery.
That hospital provides many other services. Anyone walking into the foyer would be quite stunned by the number of facilities and services that are provided. Staff members are happy with the general atmosphere and morale at that hospital. From the brief outline I gave today honourable members can plainly see that that hospital is going from strength to strength and that it is not being downgraded. The Iemma Government and, in particular, the honourable member for Miranda, the honourable member for Heathcote and I will continue to support our shire's hospital. It would be wonderful if everyone in our community did the same, including the honourable member for Cronulla.