26 September 2023

Work begins to spread Wollongong hospital

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The first steps in an overhaul of Wollongong’s health system are now underway in a bid to deal with a predicted extra 30,000 hospital admissions a year by 2030.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully said Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) had been working with key stakeholders in the region to understand what’s needed to support the transformation of Wollongong Public Hospital into a nationally significant health precinct.

Mr Scully said the forthcoming Metro Wollongong Health Precinct Strategy was the first action under the May 2021 Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041 and would set the priorities for the precinct, including how to grow partnerships in research and education, and enable new housing for key workers.

“This new vision will help shape the precinct and outline the housing, employment, and infrastructure servicing needs of a growing Metro Wollongong,” Mr Scully said.

“With a rapidly expanding population, it’s never been more important to get these crucial planning steps right to make sure we have enough housing, jobs close to where people live and easily accessible health services.”

Minister for Health, Ryan Park said it was anticipated the hospital would, over time, grow beyond its current footprint to accommodate the region’s projected health needs.

“The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District anticipates there will be approximately 30,000 more hospital admissions each year across the region by 2030,” Mr Park said.

“This strategy will be invaluable in helping us to improve access to healthcare services for our growing community, ensuring we have world-class services available to meet the needs of staff, patients and their families.”

He said the strategy would consider and identify growth needs of the hospital and potential nearby sites for expansion; place-making and design opportunities; improving connections between the Health Precinct, Wollongong Train Station, and the CBD; incentivising a mix of health and medical uses and higher density living and; future opportunities for health and medical research capabilities.

Mr Park said DPE would release a draft discussion paper on the vision, priorities and options for the precinct later this year, with the strategy anticipated to be finalised by the end of 2024.

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