Mr Baird and Mrs Skinner took part in a topping out ceremony on the roof of the seven-storey Clinical Services Building, which is the centrepiece of the $322 million Stage 1 Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital redevelopment.
They were joined at the ceremony by local MPs Andrew Rohan (Smithfield), Tanya Davies (Mulgoa), Kevin Connolly (Riverstone), Liberal candidate for Seven Hills Mark Taylor and Liberal candidate for Blacktown Raman Bhalla.
“Last year I stood at this site with Jillian to see the earth being prepared for construction. In just over a year, the builders have reached the top of this building,” Mr Baird said.
“It’s great news for the people of Blacktown – and, thanks to the NSW Government’s record $5 billion hospital building program, it’s a story being repeated across the State.
“In Western Sydney and South Western Sydney alone, we are delivering on our commitment to rebuild and redevelop hospitals neglected by Labor for 16 long years.
“Campbelltown Hospital Stage 1 ($134 million) is almost complete and planning is well advanced for the Westmead Hospital Stage 1 redevelopment (over $400 million). We have also started planning on Campbelltown Hospital Stage 2, Blacktown Hospital Stage 2 and Bankstown Hospital.
“It all goes to show: Labor talks, the NSW Liberals & Nationals deliver.”
Mrs Skinner said: “It is an honour today to accompany the Premier and our parliamentary colleagues to the top of this incredible new building.
“Staff and patients regularly tell me how excited they are to be finally getting the state-of-the-art hospital they deserve.
“The Blacktown area is one of Australia’s fastest growing communities and this building will help us meet their healthcare needs now and into the future.
“This Blacktown Hospital redevelopment won a coveted award at the recent prestigious NSW Health Awards for ‘systematic, comprehensive and ongoing program of community and consumer consultation’ throughout the project.
“It was noted that, as a direct result of this partnership, a number of innovative and patient-focused improvements have been made involving changes to design, models of care and operational procedures. This is now being used as a model in hospital capital works across the State.”
The seven-storey Clinical Services Building at Blacktown Hospital will include comprehensive care centres for cancer, cardiac, respiratory medicine and aged care.
Every department is within 20 metres of a lift, making navigating simple for patients and visitors. Single patient rooms have unique visitor zones, designed in collaboration with patients and carers, which transform into overnight carer accommodation.
Stage 2 of the Blacktown Hospital redevelopment will prioritise the emergency department, operating theatres, an increase in inpatient beds and a boost to maternity and paediatric services.
Today’s roof-top ceremony featured a lilly pilly bush covered with handwritten notes of support from staff, patients, volunteers and visitors.
It will be planted in the hospital grounds when the project is completed in 2016, while the handwritten notes will form part of Blacktown Hospital’s innovative art projects.
A topping out is a European construction tradition which marks completion of the highest point of a structure and celebrates the work of builders and tradespeople.