02 February 2022


Member for Blue Mountains




The ageing state of Katoomba Hospital is under the spotlight with questions raised at a NSW parliamentary inquiry yesterday, and a public meeting entitled ‘Is Katoomba Hospital still fit for Purpose?’ to be held this evening.


Concerns about a lack of infrastructure funding and inadequate services at the hospital have been growing as the ageing facility marks 95 years in 2022 and government plans for a “One New Hospital” appear stalled.


Blue Mountains MP, Trish Doyle claims the plan, announced at the 2019 election, looks to have been quietly shelved.


“Whatever happened to the NSW Liberal Government’s strategic plan for a ‘One New Hospital’ that was promised to the Blue Mountains in the lead up to the last election?


“Our community and our hard-working health care workers deserve a hospital that is properly funded and resourced & meets the needs of our community.


“We’ve heard nothing from the NSW Government on this for years. I call, yet again, on this inept NSW Government to act! Stop funnelling us all down to Nepean Hospital and build us a new facility here.”


An upper house inquiry examining regional health services saw Nepean Blue Mountains Health District Chief Executive, Kay Hyman, admit under questioning that no funding had been allocated for a new Blue Mountains hospital, nor land selected.


The inquiry also heard that there are no current plans to upgrade the hospital despite leaking roofs and outdated facilities.


Ms Doyle, said the government’s failure to fulfil its ‘One New Hospital’ promise is putting the long-term health of Blue Mountains residents at risk.


“The failure to implement the plan means more years of residents having to travel outside the area for medical treatment that could be delivered locally.”


She said that hospital clinicians, nursing staff and paramedics have expressed to her privately that they feel Katoomba Hospital is continually neglected in favour of the larger Nepean Hospital.


Tonight’s public meeting, organised by Blue Mountains Chamber of Commerce, invited guest speakers Peter Collins, Chair of NBMHD and Chief Executive Kay Hyman to speak but no medical staff or users of the hospital.


Federal MP Susan Templeman and Liberal candidate Sarah Richards were asked to address the meeting, but not Ms Doyle despite the hospital being a state government health facility.


“I can answer the question ‘Is Katoomba Hospital fit for purpose?’ the answer is a resounding ‘No’,” Ms Doyle said.

“We don’t need bureaucrats to tell us that, this is the experience of the community every day.”


Labor’s Shadow Health Minister, Ryan Park said the state of Katoomba Hospital in comparison with other regional hospitals is cause for alarm.

“At the last election the Liberals declared that the construction of a new hospital was a number one priority, yet there seems to be a deliberate campaign of neglect,” he said.


“Compared to other hospitals of a similar size, often serving a smaller population, Katoomba is one of the few hospitals that has not benefitted from major reinvestment and upgrade.”


The parliamentary inquiry also heard that there are only two ambulances serving the Blue Mountains LGA, meaning one ambulance for every 40,000 residents.


“And when those ambulances are stuck at Nepean, as they often are, it means there are no ambulances available to Blue Mountains residents in the event of an emergency,” Ms Doyle said.