Post-Closure Planning

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Initiative Title: Post-Closure Planning
Category: Planning Initiatives

Post-Closure Planning

Since the closure of the Manly Hospital site a new PSAC (Project Steering & Advisory Committee) has been formed under the auspices of our local member (James Griffen).   Several new Community representatives have been added to the PSAC, including our representative Ray Mathieson (from the Manly Community Forum).   In recent times responsibility for the site has shifted to NSW Government Finance & Property Department, removing the need for further involvement from the Health (Infrastructure).  Leon Walker, Executive Director, Development and Transaction from Property NSW explained at the last PSAC meeting held Friday 21 June’19 that the site had now passed to his care. 

Below is a picture of how the entrance to the site looks today – preventing any unauthorised site access.  

NSW Health Infrastructure apologised for their inaction and explained how they were totally preoccupied with issues arising at the new Northern Beaches Hospital at Frenches Forest.  It was clear that the site did not fit NSW Health’s criteria for management, even though it hasn’t been fully cleared for future plans proposed.

Main issues put to NSW Property was in regard to building renovation, potential re-use of some buildings (5) with significant heritage listings and the promise of gaining access to reassess these buildings post-closure.  Our local Member (James Griffin) and NB Lord Major (Mike Regan) appear to be on the same page in terms of the sites proposed usage for health care and well being services, especially the provision of a Youth & Adolescent Hospice being on track for a start in 2020.

No date was set for the next PSAC meeting, other than to work towards preparing a Registration of Interest (RoI) document for distribution to a wide audience of interested parties.  Affordable Housing and Crisis Housing was high on the priority list very much along the lines of that which we have been representing within this wen-site. 

Planning Pre-Closure

We have known about the possibility of the Manly Hospital closing for over 10 years.  Since the previous Manly Hospital Community Advisory Group (MHCAG) report of June’15, little/no further formal progress had occurred up until a new Project Steering Advisory Committee (PSAC) was formed by Kate Henshall (NSW Heath Infrastructure) late in 2017.   In the meantime, a local community contingent from the Manly Community Forum (MCF) has been operational, mainly through a website portal –  a Manly Community-driven Health Care Facility (McHCF) for the future Manly Hospital site.  This website has been used to communicate and collaborate with Northern Beaches residents on their perceived health care gaps and needs.   Their feedback has been aggregated as community requirements for filling these gaps in a holistic and structured fashion.  A framework of related Community Initiatives (13) were devised to represent these community ideas and innovations on how affordable residental accommodation and related heath care services could effectively co-exist and interlink as service strategies.   At a Community Workshop held on 7 Dec’17 (facilitated by Kate Henshall from NSW Health Infrastructure), it was re-affirmed that a series of Community Work Groups (CWGs) would be established by the PSAC (along the lines of these Community Initiatives).  This was seen as an ideal inter-link with the MCHCF framework and a long awaited means of  authenticating the associated McHCF Facebook as a community collaboration platform.   To date the CWGs have never eventuated and the community has begun raising concerns about the cultural misalignment of the NSW Health Infrastructure centric PSAC with that associated the community’s vision and implementation expectations and strategy.

Through the PSAC NSW Heath Infrastructure the focus has been on devising its plan towards the closure of the Manly Hospital site in Oct’18, through the aid of Johnstaff Consulting – meaningful governance, due diligence, contamination, zoning and government reporting, etc.    However, time is fast running out to compile an effective and viable plan for transitioning to a community-driven take-up of responsibilities and accountabilities along the lines of community expectations for a Manly Community-driven Heath Care Facility (McHCF).  The purpose of this website portal is/was to fulfil this objective.   We now have less than 6 months to put our proposition for using the available zoned “envelop” for building development and funding model proposal before NSW Forwards Estimates in order to have the site shifted from NSW Health Infrastructure back in public hands under the auspice of NSW Finance, Assets and Innovation.  


It was some 10 years ago (2017) when the then Little Manly Precinct (LMP) Chair Candy Bingham first established the Future of Manly Hospital project.  Darryl Dobe and his wife Cheryl were nominated to run it, being both local residents, precinct members and involved in Manly Hospital.  The project became known as the “Future of Manly Hospital Site” project, following the government decision not to use the Manly Hospital site for its new Northern Beaches level 5 Hospital.   The project’s early focus was ensuring that the Manly Hospital site remain in public hands and that the local Manly Community have a say in expressing their preferences for the site.     Cheryl, being a nurse at the Manly Hospital, was well placed to observe patient and community visitor sentiments on this vexing subject.  In contrast Darryl had been heavily involved with the St. Vincent de Pauls Society and become well versed in the major health care gaps across the Manly Community (being a past-President of the Manly SVDP Conference).  Having been an architect of the Federal Government’s eHealth system (ordained by the Rudd Government)  he recognised the potential for a national patient health care record to better integrarte health care services with a stronger patient focus.  

Constant polling and “pub tests” made in clear that the provision of an Aged Care facility was the top priority in an array of other health care services seen by the community as needing to be filled;  not only the existing health care gaps but also to makeup for that which would be lost through the closure of the Manly Hospital itself.   The aggregated vision the Manly Community had for the Future use of the Manly Hospital site has become known as the – Manly Community-driven Health Care Facility.  

Mike Baird, as our local NSW Manly Parliamentary member and eventually Premier, regular attended the LMP monthly gathering where reports from the Future of Manly Hospital project were presented and where his on-going support for the community preferences for the site were re-affirmed.   In 2011 when the announcement was made that the Frenches Forest site would definitely be the one for the new Northern Beaches level 5 hospital, Mike Baird established the Manly Hospital Advisory Group (MHCAG), consisting of:-

  • Anthony Manning – Director Planning & Infrastructure NSW Health
  • Bev Lawson – Northern Beaches Council
  • Denise Keen – Volunteer, Manly Hospital Community Group
  • Amanda Farrer – Volunteer, Australian Museum (Mike Baird representative)
  • Katherine Ridge – Volunteer, Private/Public Funding

On June’15 the (MHCAG) published its one and only “NSW Government, Stakeholders and Community” Report, which again re-affirmed the earlier findings of the Future of Manly Hospital Site project.  Both presented their aligned finding at the regular monthly Manly Community Forum (MCF) meetings held at the Manly Yacht Club after the Northern Beaches Councils were merged and previous Precincts (LMP) discontinued.

Recent Events

On Nov’17 a Steering Committee was proposed inviting the following participants:-

  • Frank Bazik – GM NSLHD (Chair)
  • Deb Willcox – Chief Executive NBHD
  • Kate Henshall – Comms & Engagement Lead NSW Health
  • Rosemary Cullen – Director MoH
  • John Armstrong – Project Director, NSW Health Infrastructure
  • James Griffen – MP, Local NSW Member for Manly
  • Kathryn Ridge – Volunteer Solicitor 
  • Denise Keen – Volunteer, Manly Hospital Community Group
  • Amanda Farrer – Volunteer, Australian Museum 
  • Ray Mathieson – Volunteer, Manly Community Forum (MCF)
  • Sue Sacker – GM, Schizophrenia Fellowship
  • Michael Regan – Major, NB Council
  • David Kerr – Planning GM, NB Council

There have been 2 meetings of the PSAC (6 March’18 & 5 April’18).  The next PSAC meeting is not until early June’18, leaving only 3 mouths until the Manly Hospital closure.  

Contact Name: Darryl Dobe
Contact Email Address:
Start Date: 20-Jun-2017
End Date: 21-Dec-2018
Signup: I would like to signup as a Volunteer for this Special Project Initiative

Volunteers already signed up for this Special Project Initiative (if any)

  1. Darryl Dobe   

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