By Ruth Caskey
TAMWORTH hospital’s $220 million, five-storey acute services building is starting to take shape, and workers are only six weeks into construction.
The two-and-a-half year redevelopment began in July and is expected to be completed in early 2015.
Tamworth hospital redevelopment co-ordinator Ricki Bradbery said patients and staff members had enjoyed seeing the block come to life with construction workers, machines and trucks.
Concrete slabs were poured for the ground floor earlier this week and columns are starting to go up.
There’s also plenty being done behind the scenes, with staff getting ready to make the transition to a completely different way of providing care.
Some of the changes have already been introduced, including the High Volume, Short Stay model of care and the emergency department’s Fast Track model to improve emergency services. “It’s not just about a new building. We’re already looking at opportunities to change the way we deliver healthcare,” Mrs Bradbery said.
The redevelopment is jointly funded by the state and federal governments with the NSW government providing $100 million and the federal government putting in $120 million.
The new building will house all acute services, with emergency on the top floor. It will also have new operating theatres, an intensive care unit, birthing suites and a maternity unit, a paediatric unit, a pharmacy, medical imaging, a mortuary and kitchen.
The current emergency building, the Bruderlin wing, will be refurbished and used for ambulatory care.
“All the allied health services and specialty health clinics will be in the one place,” Ms Bradbery said. “Usually when patients come to a clinic they’re here for more than one service.
“When people come to the health service they can come to one area to receive all services.”
A three-dimensional virtual tour, available on the Hunter New England Health website, provides a preview of how the building will look and the services provided. Patient services will operate as normal throughout the redevelopment.