Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone launches petition to upgrade Fairfield Hospital

Fairfield Hospital. Picture: Simon Bennett
Fairfield Hospital. Picture: Simon Bennett

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone said the time has come to "join together and fight" to upgrade Fairfield Hospital.

In his mayoral minute at last week's council meeting, which was passed unanimously, he proposed that council officers prepare a public petition to "bring our community's voice together as one demanding the state government urgently upgrade facilities at Fairfield Hospital". In his motion, he said: "Fairfield Hospital was built 32 years ago and since then there has never been a major upgrade to its facilities or services. Only $7 million has been spent by the state government on any upgrades in that time."

"Currently Fairfield Hospital has no cancer treatment, no heart health specialists and no diabetes treatment. In fact there are no specialist treatments available for chronic conditions. As a district hospital, patients are triaged, stabilised and then transported to another hospital for anything other than basic care. Currently the power infrastructure doesn't even allow for Wi-Fi and the hospital does not have an MRI machine or an electronic medical records system," he said.

"Fairfield has a diverse and unique population with many people who have complex needs including age, trauma, mental health, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Fairfield residents die younger than residents from many other parts of Sydney, and we need a better hospital to help improve health outcomes."

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone. Picture: Simon Bennett

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone. Picture: Simon Bennett

Mr Carbone, who was born at the old Fairfield Hospital, made a complaint against the hospital in 2015 when his father-in-law was turned away from the emergency department and suffered a stroke.

He said the campaign was not reflective of the "wonderful staff" that provide care and treatment for patients, but aimed at the lack of investment by successive state governments into the health of Fairfield residents.

"We want our hospital's services to be improved and we want to know what plans the state government has for the future of Fairfield Hospital. This is our hospital and we as a community need to stand up and speak up to make sure Fairfield is not forgotten by the state government," Mr Carbone said.

"Our hospital should not be treated as second class and we need to make sure that our hospital provides appropriate services for the growing population in west and south-western Sydney.

"Fairfield Hospital is less than 20-kilometres away from the new Western Sydney Airport and is the closest hospital to the airport, along with Nepean Hospital. With the expected expansion of residents and businesses in the region, the hospital needs to be able to cater for the growing population."

Fairfield Hospital. Picture: Simon Bennett

Fairfield Hospital. Picture: Simon Bennett

A Fairfield Hospital spokesperson said South Western Sydney Local Health District has invested more than $13 million on the replacement of critical infrastructure and engineering projects at Fairfield Hospital in the past two years, including the $7 million redevelopment of the Emergency Department (ED).

The 2020-2021 budget for Fairfield Hospital is $132.1 million, an increase of $2.5 million on the previous financial year.

"The redeveloped ED opened last year and includes more acute and subacute treatment spaces, fast track bays and treatment rooms as well as new triage, paediatric, waiting and reception areas, to meet the needs of the community well into the future," the spokesperson said.

"The $5 million upgrade of the power supply is also underway with the work expected to be completed later this year. This will allow for extensive Wi-Fi coverage to support the ongoing roll-out of clinical IT and equipment, including patient record management."

The spokesperson said Fairfield Hospital provides a wide range of acute services including cardiology, surgery and orthopaedics as well as subacute services including geriatrics and rehabilitation and renal dialysis.

"A specialised hand surgery clinic opened in 2013, offering a range of hand therapy and treatment of hand injuries. The hospital also provides inpatient and outpatient diabetes services including emergency consultations and gestational diabetes care," the spokesperson said.

"As part of a clinical network across the health system patients requiring specialist cancer services are referred to the relevant centres of excellence at either Liverpool or Westmead Hospitals.

"The District will also benefit from the NSW Government's $2.8 billion commitment to recruit a record 8,300 frontline health staff over its next term, including 5,000 additional nurses and midwives.

"The 2020-2021 budget for South Western Sydney Local Health District is more than $2 billion, an increase of more than $55 million on the previous financial year's budget."

Mr Carbone said the state government has committed $1.4 billion to upgrades at Liverpool Hospital, $1.3 billion at Bankstown-Lidcombe, $700 million at Blacktown and $479 million at Ryde.

"The people of Fairfield need to be confident that their local hospital can meet their health needs, now and into the future," he said.

Council will soon commence a campaign and organise a petition which will be sent to residents next month.