The project team building the $53 million new Gunnedah hospital are preparing for an "extra hard" job, due to the need to construct it while still operating the existing one.
That's according to Hunter New England Health Executive infrastructure director Dr Ramsey Awad, who told an online community meeting that the project was on schedule.
"It's extra difficult on this particular site, because as you can imagine we have to maintain the operations of the existing hospital while building the new hospital," he said.
About 100 Gunnedah residents attended the new hospital team's update on Friday afternoon.
Dr Awad rejected concerns the project has been delayed.
"We're still on track," he said.
"There is always a time period from when a project is announced for it to get through the machinations of government which don't sit at the district level, they don't even sit at NSW Health, they sit at Treasury level. Our project is moving very quickly I think compared to a number of other projects. Gunnedah was actually given some additional funding to accelerate the planning."
The new hospital will be built on the same site as the old hospital.
Dr Awad confirmed the new institution will include all the existing services, plus chemotherapy and renal dialysis.
He said it will be a challenge to hire staff to run the new services, but NSW Health have started work.
HNEH will build accommodation to house itinerant workers temporarily employed at the hospital. Dr Awad said the health service was considering building the dwellings on the same site as the hospital itself.
"Having local accommodation, potentially on campus ... is incredibly important. That is part of our agenda for this project," he said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, who attended the meeting, said the project had been complicated by the pandemic.
"On the ground it really seems like nothing has been happening physically," he said.
"But we saw today that there has been. They've actually used drones, they've sent some drones up to get some aerial shots and lots of different things.
"I was encouraged by today. I certainly want to see that community consultation, I want to see that face-to-face."
The project team intend to complete the project's master plan by the end of the year, and then hope to travel to Gunnedah for in-person consultation.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
- Bookmark northerndailyleader.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Google News