After years of waiting and anticipation, the new Wagga Rural Referral Hospital has finally welcomed its very first patients.
Patients from the emergency department were the first to be moved over early on Monday morning, with the first arriving right on 7am.
Merv Davis, a Wagga resident, was the first to be moved over from the old emergency department to the new facility, having been admitted to hospital late on Sunday night.
The new hospital’s very first patient seemed happy with his new surrounds when he spoke to the Advertiser on Monday.
“(The room) is big and it’s private,” Mr Davis said.
“It’s good to have (the privacy).”
Mr Davis said he found the move across to the new building early on Monday morning wasn’t stressful.
Along with emergency, the intensive care, coronary and acute stroke units moved across to the new $282.1 million building on Monday, as well as medical imaging facilities.
Wagga Health Service director of emergency medicine Shane Curran said staff had found their new surrounds exciting.
“The staff are all very keen and enthusiastic to move into their new home after the best part of 30 years,” Dr Curran said.
“The enthusiasm is actually palpable among the staff to be able to use our new facility and to treat our patients in a very modern facility.”
Dr Curran said emergency department staff had found their new surrounds to be considerably more spacious than in the old hospital building.
“The new emergency department lets us manage all of our patients according to our modern models of care,” he said.
“We have adapted everything we’re doing to what is current best practice.”
Staff started moving over to the new building last week ahead of this week’s opening to the public.
Despite the logistical challenge painted by the move, Dr Curran said it had been “easy” to execute.
“It was all well planned – our last patient left (the old emergency department) at 6.59am and we saw our first patient at seven o’clock over here,” he said.
All other units from the old Wagga Base Hospital are expected to be transferred across to the new building by either Wednesday or Thursday this week.