LOOKING HEALTHY: Construction of the new Byron Bay Hospital is now at ‘lock up’ stage and is expected to open mid-2016.
LOOKING HEALTHY: Construction of the new Byron Bay Hospital is now at ‘lock up’ stage and is expected to open mid-2016. Mireille Merlet

Byron Central Hospital reaches milestone on schedule

THE EXTERIOR of the new Byron Central Hospital is complete and the building has now reached "lock-up stage", NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner has announced.

Ms Skinner inspected the $88 million Ewingsdale facility yesterday alongside Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, Chris Gulaptis, and senior local health district staff.

She took time to tour the three main buildings on the six-hectare site, which now awaits internal fit out, while related roadworks, including a new roundabout on Ewingsdale Rd and the emergency department entrance, are scheduled for later this year.

Construction of the hospital is set to wrap up early 2016, before it opens for patients mid-year after a commissioning process.

"It won't be long before the fully functional Byron Central Hospital is treating its first patients," Ms Skinner said.

Ms Skinner paid homage to the modern, light-filled hospital, saying it was a world apart from the hospitals of old.

"This is a good as you'll get anywhere ... to see the light, the big windows, designed for the patients in mind," she said.

She said she had been working on a project of this kind for the Byron region since she first became Shadow Health Minister in 1995, and thanked former Ballina MP Don Page for his tireless support for the project.

The building was designed in consultation with groups of doctors, health staff, and community members who worked together to ensure it was designed for user comfort.

Ms Skinner said the facility was "fit for the future".

"If there's a need for further expansion that can happen," she said.

She also noted that the 60% of the construction workforce were locally employed.

The new hospital will include an emergency department and in-patient rooms, a low-risk maternity unit and a community and mental health unit.

Once it opens it will replace the smaller district hospitals in Byron Bay and Mullumbimby, "offering expanded services at a higher level" according to Mr Gulaptis.

"This new hospital is a wonderful asset for Byron Shire's busy and growing community and will allow more residents and visitors to receive their treatment locally," he said.

When complete, services at the hospital will include: 24-hour emergency attention; overnight inpatient beds; enhanced X-ray and medical imaging, including a CT scanner; as well as a dental service, satellite chemotherapy and ambulatory care.

There will be on-site parking for 195 cars.



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