LISMORE Base Hospital's new Women's Care Unit has already seen 238 births since the facility first became operational in June.
The Women's Care Unit, which forms part of the Hospital's current $80.25 million Stage 3A redevelopment, was officially opened yesterday by the State Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and Page MP Kevin Hogan
The unit now provides a total 10 beds for antenatal and postnatal women, with a patient lounge and antenatal classes.
Richmond Clarence Health Service Group executive officer Lynne Weir said the new Women's Care Unit had boosted staff moral and received a lot of positive feedback from visitors.
"Now we have beautiful single rooms for everybody with ensuites, which we didn't have before, so the accommodation is so much better for the families," she said.
Earlier this year, doctors expressed concerns the new emergency department would continue to struggle with patient loads because the hospital's wards would still be overcrowded, making it difficult to transfer patients on.
The state government has allocated $100,000 in funding for planning future stages that would help alleviate the overcrowding in wards.
However, Ms Skinner said no money had been allocated to fund the next stage of redevelopment, Stage 3B, beyond planning. If funded, Stage 3B would look at expanding the acute services zones including critical care, operating theatres, maternity, new inpatient beds and support areas.
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Chris Crawford said some pressure would be taken off the wards when the dialysis unit was moved (under Stage 3A) creating room for an additional 20 beds.
"In the future there are a number of other stages, at the moment being called 3B1 and 3B2 and the rest that are not funded but we continue to advocate obviously to the minister," he said.
Ms Skinner also visited the Ewingsdale site where works on the new Byron Central Hospital are set to commence in the next few months.
Plans for the new hospital, valued at more than $80 million, are on display at Byron Shire Council and on the Department of Planning and Infrastructure website until Friday, September 19.
The State Government has committed $1.5 million to begin construction at the Ewingsdale site.