HERE is your first glance at what the fully redeveloped Wagga Base Hospital will look like when it is completed in 2016.
The $282.1 million project reaches a milestone today with the opening of phase one of the project – the 50-bed state-of-the-art mental health unit.
By 2016, the mental health unit (left) will have been joined by a new eight-storey acute hospital (right), complete with a new emergency department, operating theatres, women’s and children’s inpatient units, intensive care and high-dependency units, angiography suites, additional inpatient beds and a rooftop helipad.
The mental health unit will be opened at 10am today by Health Minister Jillian Skinner, Mental Health Minister Kevin Humphries and member for Wagga Daryl Maguire.
Speaking ahead of today’s official opening, Ms Skinner said the new hospital, once complete, was set to provide a shot in the arm for the city.
“State-of-the-art facilities like these are a real boost to the health system,” she said.
“Not only are the bricks and mortar impressive, but new health facilities such as this are a real magnet for staff.
“I have no doubt the $282.1 million redevelopment of Wagga Base Hospital will entice health professionals from across the state to work right here.”
The redevelopment received a further boost earlier this month when it was revealed that construction of the new acute hospital facility was set to start in December, three months ahead of schedule.
Mr Maguire said: “I’m particularly excited that phases two and three will begin three months earlier than originally forecast.
“It’s another indication of our commitment to deliver the important health infrastructure we took to the election.”
But despite today’s landmark opening of phase one of the hospital redevelopment, Mr Maguire knows the work is far from done and he says he’s committed to seeing the project through to the end.
“I am absolutely determined to stand on the steps of the hospital when the final phase is completed and join with the community to celebrate the achievement,” he said.
“I will not stop or be influenced or waiver until we get there.”
So far the state government has allocated $215 million to the redevelopment to cover phases one and two of the project – to go with $67 million in federal funding – with money committed to phase three, which will be allocated when needed.
While today marks the official opening of the mental health unit, the new sub-acute section – a first for Wagga – will not become operational until the start of next year.
The sub-acute service will cater for patients requiring longer term accommodation – of a period of around six weeks, according to mental health unit nurse manager Sharlene Brown – and will address a critical gap in mental health service delivery in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.
Previously, patients requiring sub-acute care were required to travel as far afield as Orange to access the services they needed.