Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) lobbyists are uniting in a last-ditch attempt to save RNSH from an under-funded and impractical redevelopment plan, recently presenting the local member for Willoughby, Gladys Berejiklian MP, a people’s petition comprising more than 14,000 signatories.
Ms Berejiklian will be required to table the ‘people’s petition’ for ‘urgent debate’ in Parliament, following a pre-election promise by the NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell MP, to allow citizens to initiate debates in NSW Parliament after securing a minimum of 10,000 signatories on an issue. The “save RNSH” people’s petition is the second submission of its kind under the NSW Premier’s new plan since securing government in March 2011.
While supportive of the long overdue hospital redevelopment, representatives from the 350-strong membership of RNSH’s Medical Staff Council (MSC), hospital volunteers, and local and rural patients are calling upon the recently elected State Government to reconsider the flawed $1 billion plan for the hospital and to fix it now before it is too late.
The official petition handover, which occurred on Friday May 13, 2011 at Ms Berejiklian’s Naremburn office and coordinated by team VIVA!, was attended by RNSH MSC members and local residents. In direct response to the widespread media coverage of the petition handover, NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner MP convened a news conference at 3pm later that day to address some of the issues tabled in the Save RNSH campaign, stating her support for the lobbyists’ claims. The campaign also captured the attention of Mr O’Farrell, who publicly expressed, on the same day, his support for parliamentary debate to save RNSH from the flawed redevelopment plan.