THE NSW Government’s aim to provide the “best possible health care in the area” gathered momentum this week when work started on Stage 2 of the Muswellbrook District Hospital’s $21.5 million redevelopment.
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen met with the acting general manager Hunter Valley sector for Hunter New England Health Jonathan Holt, local acting health service manager Sharon Eriksson and foreman Anthony Gambrill at the site on Friday – and was impressed by what he saw.
“This is an important step; and things are travelling quite well,” he said.
“There’s been plenty of work [going on] to get the site prepared.
“We’re now at the point where they can start putting down the footings.
“We are also comfortable asbestos won’t be an issue either.
“Both SafeWork NSW and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) have signed off on it.
“So, there’s been a lot of groundwork, and utility work, done around the sewer, water and electricity, too.
“One of the important things, which was brought to my attention, is will the new stage have the electricity capacity to meet the future needs of the demands for power?
“And, yes, it does.
“In fact, it was said to me that the volume for electricity, on this stage, would be sufficient to run the John Hunter Hospital.
“We are planning for the future – and that’s what it’s all about.
“This is good taxpayers’ dollars being spent for the capacity for Muswellbrook [District] hospital to grow and grow for decades to come.
“Planning has begun to design Stage 3.
“We’ll then need to lobby the government for funds after we obtain the costing estimates.”
Financed by the Restart NSW Resources for Regions Program, Stage 2 of the hospital redevelopment will deliver a range of health service improvements including: larger treatment spaces and additional treatment chairs for renal dialysis and chemotherapy; improved spaces for medical imaging and pathology collection; refurbished outpatient areas; oral health services; an enhanced space for patients attending Muswellbrook District Hospital for day surgery; and improvements to the main entry, reception and admission areas.
“It’s exciting that Stage 2 is finally underway,” Mr Holt said.
“And, it is a great thing for Muswellbrook.
“Local residents will start seeing a lot of visible work now.
“All things being equal, in terms of weather, we’re looking to have it open by Christmas this year,” Mr Johnsen added.