Lingard Private Hospital has outlined a master plan for future expansion as it seeks to establish itself as a centre for cutting-edge medical procedures.
The Newcastle Herald reported in December that the Merewether hospital had submitted plans with Newcastle City Council for a new $13 million building on Lingard Street.
Those plans are with the Joint Regional Planning Panel, although the hospital has already gained approval and started building an underground car park on the site.
Lingard is poised to open 27 new beds next week, one of a series of investments its owner, Healthe Care Australia, has made since buying the hospital in 2006.
But the company has broader plans.
Lingard chief executive officer Warwick Crosby and Healthe Care executive Tim Yeoh addressed the council this week to foreshadow a master plan for the site, including properties it owns on Hopkins Street and land next to the three-storey development on the other side of Merewether Street.
Mr Crosby told the Herald on Friday that Healthe Care had spent about $85 million on expanding Lingard in the past 12 years and planned to spend another $85 million in the next 10 to 15 years.
He said those plans could include separating orthopedic surgery into an annex to the hospital and a research and training “campus”.
Lingard had “dipped its toe” into new surgical-skills training and research programs with the University of Newcastle and John Hunter Hospital.
The private hospital, which has pioneered the use of robotic surgery in the Hunter, is involved in a research fellow program with the John Hunter and university and hosts student nurses.
Lingard has treated more than 100,000 people in the past five years, an increasing number of whom are day-surgery patients. It has 10 operating theatres, only five fewer than John Hunter Hospital, and 488 staff.
Mr Crosby said upgrading Lingard to cater for the growing pool of talented doctors and surgeons in Newcastle was part of the master plan.
“We’ve got a very good facility in John Hunter Hospital that attracts quality doctors and health practitioners. It’s a massive industry for Newcastle,” he said.
“The ability to work in public and private is one of the reasons they come to Newcastle.
“We have world-class physicians and surgeons. A lot of surgeons in Australia travel overseas to teach and learn these techniques, and there’s a space and demand to have that in Newcastle.”
Mr Crosby said Lingard could develop an emergency department, particularly to treat orthopedic trauma patients, although “this is not something we’re driving”.