IT'S not just doctors and nurses who make Mount Druitt Hospital the community institution it is today.
Almost 200 past and present staff, volunteers and community members celebrated the hospital's birthday at Rooty Hill RSL on Thursday night — the day which marked 30 years since it was opened by the Queen.
It wasn't just a night of celebration and reminiscing, it also paid tribute to the efforts of staff, volunteers and the community who all fought tirelessly in recent years to keep the hospital open, something that wasn't lost on the night's MC, Ita Buttrose.
"Health is a big issue in western Sydney," she told the Star.
"I don't have problem coming out here. This is the heart of Sydney. The community has played a special role in the life of this hospital. It was built because it was a desire of the people who lived here."
Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital general manager Andrew Newton spoke about the future of the hospital, which is undergoing expansion.
"It will have a defined role in the care of the western Sydney population," he said.
It wouldn't have been a hospital celebration without Dr Mac Wyllie, who was a commissioning board member and head of surgery for almost 30 years until recently.
His wife, Heather, was also a founding staff member as a physiotherapist.
"We were so green, we glowed in the dark," Dr Wyllie told the crowd.
"The commission process made us into a working team and family that I'm proud to say still exists today."
Now semi-retired, Dr Wyllie later told the Star he still visits the hospital at least once a week.
"The thing about this hospital is that it's owned by the community and not by the government, who might like to believe otherwise," he said.
"The community will fight until the death for this hospital. This is why I say the hospital volunteers are Mount Druitt treasures."
He recalls the days when he was on-call seven days a week and had a full intensive care unit.
"We were the envy of NSW and were good at what we did," he said.
"Then in 2000, it went pear-shaped when other people stepped in and tried to do things differently. "But I see a great future [for] Mount Druitt Hospital two years from now as a centre of excellence for elective surgery, rehabilitation and paediatrics. There's no doubt about it."