September 15 - 21, 2019: Issue 421


Demolition Of Mona Vale Hospital Currently Taking Place

For the past few weeks residents have noticed the Nurses Quarters on the Mona Vale Hospital Campus have been fenced off and the interiors have been getting ripped out. Late this week demolition of these structures commenced, signalling the next phase of the state government’s plan to establish private operators on the grounds is closer.

Pittwater Online News contacted the Chairperson of the Save Mona Vale Hospital Committee Parry Thomas yesterday to seek the reaction of this community group. Mr. Thomas has been busy the past few weeks providing input to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Northern Beaches Hospital, which also is taking into account what has been happening at Mona Vale Hospital, specifically since the cessation of Emergency and associated Support Services.

“We are outraged because we’ve been lied to by the Health Minister Brad Hazzard,” Mr Thomas said.

“He made a statement very publicly committing that the hospital buildings would not be demolished.

Mr. Thomas is referring to a statement made by the Health Minister when confronted by SMVHC and other protesters outside his office late in 2018. On December 12th, 2018, Mr. Hazzard was recorded stating he had no plans to demolish the community hospital, although also stating then that;

'there may be parts of it with asbestos - I haven't seen anything at all about that. But there is no intent to demolish anything.'

On September 23rd, 2010 Mr. Hazzard addressed a question in Parliament to then NSW Minister of Health, Carmel Tebbutt, in asking the minister about asbestos in Mona Vale Hospital; 'How does the Minister justify asbestos still being in Mona Vale Hospital facilities?

On June 29th, 2019 Mr.  Hazzard was reported as saying construction crews are preparing to demolish the main building at Mona Vale Hospital – to be replaced by a new ambulance station.

That demolition has commenced with the nurses quarters and comes just days before the next Public Hearing of the Inquiry into the Northern Beaches Hospital.

“To double the outrage, the NSW government is treating the Parliamentary Inquiry into Northern Beaches and Mona Vale Hospitals with contempt.” Mr. Thomas said yesterday.

“Our local MP Rob Stokes, Mr Hazzard and Premier Gladys Berejiklian should hang their heads in shame. 

“They do not deserve to represent this community because they have also treated the people of the Northern Beaches with contempt.”

In July 2014 Mark Horton took the following image from a community information session provided showing what was, even then, planned for Mona Vale Hospital:

'MVH Hospt. Village Green post 2018' - title and photo courtesy Mark Horton

In 2012, Dr Daly collected 11,689 signatures on a petition calling for the retention of Mona Vale Hospital to be presented to Parliament but she said Pittwater MP Rob Stokes had tabled it when the chamber was almost empty. 

“I’m here for myself, my family, my grandchildren but also for my many patients, a lot of whom have no choice private or public. Some of us have choice – they have no choice.” Dr Daly said at a rally outside the NSW Parliament house in November 2018.   

“I have been fighting and talking to politicians for years over the need to maintain Mona Vale Hospital.” Dr. Daly stated.

On December 2nd 2016 Member for Pittwater, The Hon. Rob Stokes announced the NSW Government is seeking registrations of interest from experienced health care providers to co-locate additional health services at Mona Vale Hospital. On March 23, 2017 the MP for Pittwater announced that more than 20 health care providers had responded to a Registration of Interest (ROI).

This week those plans are moving forward with one of the first items to go being the sign atop the main tower which reads 'Mona Vale Hospital'.

Other residents have also expressed dismay, stating the nurses quarters could have been re-purposed to meet the needs of other residents - those fleeing domestic violence or those who are homeless and in need of shelter.

"The Nurses Quarters were small bedroom units that could have been made available for respite for those seeking safety from domestic violence. They could also have been set up as short-stay housing for local emergency services workers who travel from out of the area to work on the Northern Beaches." one long-term campaigner for the retention of a community hospital stated this week.

The Hon. Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Health is, according to his Twitter feed, currently in Sweden visiting various health facilities.

Photos taken of the site on Saturday September 14th run below.

Report and photos by A J Guesdon, 2019.