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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3309

Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (10:21): On behalf of my community I present 10,000 signatures on a petition from members of the community opposed to cuts to services to our local community hospital, the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, by the O'Farrell Liberal government in New South Wales. Early last year the Prince of Wales Hospital closed 30 beds in various wards. Despite the fact that emergency department presentations have increased over the last two years by six per cent, the New South Wales Liberal government has only funded the hospital for growth in emergency department presentations of two per cent, leaving a four per cent deficiency.

Last year 26 staff in operational and administrative positions were made redundant in December. They also included allied health professionals, with two physiotherapists at the hospital made redundant. Last year I spoke to hardworking nurses at the hospital who told me that between 30 and 40 nurses have left the hospital and have not been replaced, putting additional pressure on staff and leading to a reduction in service levels for health delivery in our community. This year the New South Wales government has told the hospital that they need to find another $15 million in savings and cuts to budget if they are going to meet their commitment to the New South Wales government.

Both of my children were born at the Prince of Wales Hospital. The largest demographic in our community is young families. Families in our community expect better health services. In a modern Australian society they want access to better health services, not cuts to services, and the proof of that is in these 10,000 signatures that I present today. Our community deserves better health services, not cuts to services, and these 10,000 signatures prove that.

Recently I have been working with hospital management to work through these issues they have with the New South Wales government, and I must pay tribute to the hospital's administrator, Jon Roberts, who is doing his best in a difficult situation to try to ensure that they continue to deliver adequate services to the community while facing cuts to their budget from the New South Wales government. They have been requesting that governments look at installing a hybrid operating suite, which will much improve the efficiency of the hospital. A hybrid operating suite is considered a one-stop shop by the medical fraternity. It is a theatre that provides surgeons and their patients with access to comprehensive diagnostic and imaging equipment which will improve the efficiency of the hospital.

On behalf of our community I call for the government to stop the cuts in New South Wales and to provide better health services to our community.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Ewen Jones ): Do you seek leave to present the petition?

Mr THISTLETHWAITE: Not at this point. I will later.