Central Coast: A second unit for Elsie’s Retreat

The story of Elsie’s Retreat began over 10 years ago when a young woman, Oana McBride, approached the Lions Club Wyoming-East Gosford for support to open a Palliative Care Unit on the Central Coast, as there were only facilities in Newcastle and Sydney at the time.

The project had been inspired by the fate of much-loved Central Coast resident Elsie Green. Diagnosed with breast cancer at 51 years of age, Elsie was not able to secure a hospice bed and sadly lost her battle with cancer while living in a nursing home.

The Lions Club agreed and initially thought the process would take around 12 months. However, they quickly realised that was not realistic and so began a 10-year journey of endless public and MP meetings, visits to Parliament House and researching other units in the State to find the best possible plan for the Central Coast.

Community support was strong and a petition of over 10,000 signatures was presented to the then NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard.

The first Elsie’s Project Unit finally opened in Gosford Hospital on 20 April 2021. But sadly, it soon became clear that the Central Coast needed a second unit and a request to Adam Crouch MP resulted in an approach to the then Regional Minister for Health, Bronnie Taylor MP.

Subsequently $13.6 million was committed for a second Unit, which will open in Wyong Hospital later this year.

Overwhelming support and gratitude have been received from the families who have used the facility, which gives residents the choice of where they would like to be at the end of life.

To find out how to support Elsie’s Project visit www.facebook.com/ElsiesRetreat