Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) Medical Staff Council and local residents will stage an urgent meeting tomorrow (Thursday, October 23) to oppose the sale or long-term lease of the hospital’s southern campus.
The Community Forum will be held at 10am at the Kolling Auditorium, RNSH.
RNSH is a major tertiary referral hospital and one of the few national Burns and Trauma Centres, servicing 1-in-17 Australians and 1-in-6 people from NSW. There are currently 5,000 staff within the medical, surgical, nursing, research, allied health and support service departments employed at RNSH.
Dr Adam Rehak, Chair of the MSC, says land previously flagged for health support services is likely to be sold to developers and re-zoned for the construction of commercial office blocks and that the Ministry of Health plans to occupy the newly created office space. This is once the NSW government has recouped approximately $98 million from construction of the new RNSH, planned to be fully operational by December, 2014.
“The intent to sell the land has been deliberately withheld from staff and the local community. This subterfuge is unacceptable and we believe the community needs to be made aware of the planned sale.
“This is a short-term financial solution for the government, but one that has long-term implications for the functionality of the hospital, and the wellbeing of patients who use it,” said Dr Rehak.
“It clearly gives no consideration to the current population growth which will soon see the hospital bursting at the seams.
“Furthermore, having initially been led to believe the land would be used for support services that assist with clinical care delivery, we’ve now been told the Ministry of Health plans to occupy the newly created office space,” Dr Rehak said.
The Community Forum will be held between 10am to 10:45am tomorrow, with doorstop interviews available with RNSH Drs and patients from 10:45am or before the Forum.
RNSH southern campus under threat again from sale or long-term lease
In 2011, in response to a massive outcry of community anger with a written petition of nearly 15,000 signatures and a march on Parliament by staff, patients and relatives, the Minister of Health announced a moratorium on the sale of Royal North Shore Hospital land. However in 2014, it seems that now the lure of quick money from a land sale is again too great.
From recent press releases it appears that the “moratorium” has been lifted. It appears that with Sydney’s current property boom, an expression of interest has been expedited to sell/lease land at the front of the hospital and thereby allow private developers to build nearly 25,000m2 of office space. The staff and community have not been consulted with respect to use of this land and it appears it is not for the direct commercial benefit of the hospital, its staff and patients. It should be rejected outright.
Royal North Shore Hospital is a major teaching hospital that trains future doctors, nurses and other health professionals. It serves 1 in 17 of the Australian population. Following the move to the new hospital in 2012, the hospital has regained the confidence of the community. Consequently it is currently experiencing unprecedented increases, year-on-year, in emergency department presentations and hospital admissions. If this campus land is lost, the ability of Royal North Shore Hospital to grow and develop to meet this increasing patient demand is lost, it also jeopardises its ability to remain a centre of teaching excellence and still a number of displaced services through the rebuild remain uncertain in their future with respect to whether they will be privately operated for example childcare and relative accommodation.
You can oppose this sale by telling the NSW Premier, The Hon. Mike Baird MP, that misuse of community land is not good enough.
To voice your opposition to the sale or long-term lease of the RNSH southern campus, please:
a. Sign our 2 petitions:
b. Write to your local NSW Member of Parliament.
c. Volunteer for our campaign: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ensure your voice is heard.