The NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, has announced that a privately funded, 423 bed hospital will open in Frenchs Forest in 2018. The hospital will reduce the pressure on the Royal North Shore Hospital, and allow for the closure of Manly Hospital and a downgrade of Mona Vale Hospital.

Mrs Skinner said the proposed hospital will be a “‘world class, innovative model”. However Shadow Health Minister, Dr Andrew McDonald has expressed concerns, labelling the plan as an “extraordinary undertaking that is bound to run into problems”.

The new Frenchs Forest hospital will have emergency capabilities equal to that of the Royal North Shore, becoming the second hospital in the Northern Sydney region to be granted the status of a ‘level five’ emergency department.

It will be funded and run by a private operator for the first 20 years of its existence, after that time it will revert back to public ownership.

Local member and MP for Davidson, Jonathon O’Dea, said that the announcement of the process to find a private operator was “a great milestone for the people of the northern beaches and north shore, who have long wanted a new, state-of-the-art hospital to cater for their health needs, now and into the future”.

Shadow Health Minister, Dr Andrew McDonald, believes the Frenchs Forest hospital is a necessary step in reducing the burden placed on Royal North Shore.

However, he said that the private sector cannot provide adequate health care for everyone. “The problems will appear further down the track. This system hasn’t worked anywhere else in Australia. As service demands increase dramatically we will find that the private sector simply can’t cope”

Frenchs Forest hospital will provide 173 beds for privately insured patients, while the number of beds allocated to public patients will cover the downsize at Mona Vale and the closure of Manly hospital. It will be built on a 6.5 hectare site bounded by Frenchs Forest Road West, Warringah Road, Wakehurst Parkway and the Forest High School.