Multimillion funding boost speeds up hospital build
THE construction of a massive new $673 million hospital in the Tweed is well underway ahead of the hotly anticipated healthcare facility's opening to patients by 2023.
Tweed Valley Hospital will treat and employ a significant number of Gold Coast residents.
About 20 per cent of patients using the current Tweed Hospital, and almost 40 per cent of staff live in Queensland, according to Northern NSW Local Health District CEO Wayne Jones.
Funds have been allocated by the New South Wales Government to turbocharge construction of the new Cudgen hospital, which has proved a contentious development due to its location on state significant farmland - former mayor Katie Milne even protested against the decision.
The government has flagged $82.7 million in the NSW Budget to speed up the project from its Jobs and Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.
It comes as more details have emerged about the fate of dry-stone rock walls on the shire site, which have cultural significance to the Tweed South Sea islander community.
The walls have been linked to the historical slave labour of blackbirded islanders in the Tweed dating back to the 19th century.
It's expected the walls will be incorporated into "reflection spaces" on the hospital site as the project team continues to work with the South Sea islander community.
Meanwhile, early works, including bulk earthworks, roadways, piling and the connection of services, were in the final stages recently.
The overall design for the nine-storey hospital was also being finalised, including specific room and ward layouts and the building's facade.
Additionally, a list of technology, furniture, fixtures and equipment was being compiled.
More than 40 project user groups (PUGs), made up of clinicians, operational staff, patients, carers and community members, have been involved in the hospital's planning and design.
Final building approval has been received and work on the hospital buildings was expected to begin ahead of 2021.
The hospital is the largest investment in regional health being undertaken across NSW and one of the largest capital health investments in the state's history.
It's expected the hospital will include 430 day and overnight beds and 42 emergency department spaces - about double the number of beds at the current Tweed Hospital.
Specialised meeting places will be built for the Tweed's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
It's also been revealed the Aboriginal Health Service will be located in a separate building on the site named the Health Hub to provide easier access and a less clinical environment.
The hospital is considered critically important to meet the needs of the Tweed's booming population, which is predicted to grow by almost 34,000 people by 2036.
Originally published as Multimillion funding boost speeds up hospital build