Three well-known operators of private hospitals have been chosen to progress to the Request for Proposals phase of the project to design, construct and operate what will be one of the largest hospitals in the coastal northern suburbs of Sydney.

In a statement, New South Wales Minister for Health Jillian Skinner said Adventist Health Care, Healthscope and Ramsay Health Care have been chosen to move on in a bid to determine who will be responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the $400 million Northern Beaches Hospital at French Forest.

“All three of these operators are highly successful healthcare providers” Skinner said, adding that residents of the area had waited a long time for the ‘dream’ of a new hospital.

“Whichever is successful in this next phase will enter into a long term contract with the NSW Government to deliver services to both public and private patients.”

The new hospital  is the focal point of a wide-ranging overhaul of healthcare facilities throughout the Northern Beaches area, which will also see the closure of Manly Hospital and redevelopment of Mona Vale hospital in order to consolidate acute health services onto a single site at the new hospital.

The overhaul will also see the redesign of community health services, including a new Northern Community Health Centre at Mona Vale, a new Southern Community Health Centre at Brookvale and enhanced Child and Family specialist services at Dalwood in Seaforth.

Set to be built on a 6.5-hectare site in the suburb of French Forest, the new hospital will offer surgical, medical, paediatric, ambulatory care, maternity and inpatient mental health services and will feature 423 beds as well as a large, modern emergency department.

The government says the consolidation of services into the new hospital will provide for greater capacity to cater for more complex patient conditions without patients having to go outside the area.

Skinner says a Request for Proposal document will be released to the shortlisted operators later this year, with the preferred bidder likely to have been selected by the end of 2014.

She says a reference group involving government departments and local councils has been set up to resolve traffic issues surrounding the site.

Construction is expected to start in 2015 and the new hospital is scheduled for opening in 2018.