THE Shoalhaven Hospital Action Group (SHAG) is holding a public meeting on the future of Shoalhaven District Hospital.
The meeting will be held at the Bomaderry Community Hall (Birriley Street) on Wednesday, March 24 from 6pm.
Group spokesperson Nina Digiglio said the aim of the meeting is to provide people with information on the proposed expansion of the hospital precinct and explain SHAG's proposal to relocate the hospital to a more central, greenfield location within the city.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Chair Denis King and ISLHD CEO Margo Maines will both be attending the meeting.
Invitations have been extended to both local State MPs Gareth Ward (Kiama) and Shelley Hancock (South Coast) but neither will be attending, with organisers hopeful they will send representatives.
Mr Ward remains adamant that a greenfield option for Shoalhaven District Hospital will not be considered.
"We are fighting for locating Shoalhaven hospital at the geographic centre of population, to reduce the risk of mortality and so everybody has equal access," Ms Digiglio, who is a Shoalhaven City Councillor and local Parkinson's nurse, said.
The state government has committed to a $434 million upgrade of Shoalhaven Hospital, which will see the medical precinct expand into the nearby Nowra Park.
There has been a growing groundswell within the community to have the hospital relocated to a totally new greenfield site.
A further $4 million was allocated in this year's state budget to "fast-track" the redevelopment and "support the acquisition of nearby Nowra Park" as well as allowing planning activities like detailed site investigations, services diversion and further design works including clinical design.
The budget also showed the project was not due for completion until 2028.
"We want a site that addresses flexibility, adaptability and growth problems," Ms Digiglio said.
"A hospital centrally located on a high speed, all-weather access roads. A site where emergency helicopter access is not over residential areas.
"An expansive site where the public hospital, a private hospital and the university can be co-located creating a hub attractive to specialists.
"A site where the hospital can be built horizontally and not vertically. An expansive site where free convenient parking is available."
Ms Digiglio said the National Library of Medicine, National Centre for Biotechnology, has even documented there is a 27 per cent higher risk of out-of-hospital mortality for patients living far from the nearest hospital, over 17 minutes of traveling time.
That is currently all of the Bay and Basin area.
She said if relocated the current hospital site could be repurposed.
"The cancer clinic and the Grand Pacific Health Super Clinic would both be retained on site - while other hospital infrastructure could be repurposed," she said.
"All community health facilities that are presently scattered around the Nowra CBD could be consolidated at the Shoalhaven Street site.
"The grandeur and sanctity of the Shoalhaven River would be restored and Aboriginal identity with that location would be acknowledged.
"It could include the restoration of Ben's Walk from Nowra bridge to the Nowra Showground and Nowra Park could be reconnected with an environmental corridor, walk and cycle pathways from the showground through to the swimming pool."
Ms Digiglio said the group just wants to be able to provide the public with information on the proposed hospital expansion and its greenfield relocation proposal.
Construction is scheduled to start on the redeveloped hospital before March 2023.