New NR private hospital to provide specialist care
TRAVELLING across the border for surgery or specialist care may be a thing of the past for Byron Shire residents if a proposed hospital is approved in the coming weeks.
The multi-million dollar facility earmarked for 15 McGettigans Lane, Ewingsdale, which is just down the road from the Byron Central Hospital.
It would include: medical consulting rooms; day theatre; pharmacy; specialist consulting rooms; 12 overnight stay units; cafe and basement and ground level parking.
Melbourne father son trio, John, Gary and Joel Wertheimer are the applicants for the project under the company name of Brunsmed Pty Ltd.
One of the sons, Joel Wertheimer will be at the Byron Council chambers when the plans go before the Northern Joint Regional Panel on October 18.
"We are hopeful as opposed to confident," Mr Wertheimer said.
He said their vision for the health precinct was to be "a real community infrastructure" to fill the gap for services not provided by Byron Central Hospital as well as alleviate pressure felt by the public system from a growing Byron Shire.
"This is another opportunity for Byron Shire residents to access health services," he said.
Mr Wertheimer said it was "unreasonable" for Byron Shire residents and its million visitors a year to travel to Lismore, Tweed Heads or over the border to the Gold Coast to receive certain treatments.
Future collaboration between the Byron Central Hospital and the private complex was flagged by the family with the Northern NSW Local Health District early last year.
But Mr Wertheimer said the discussions were "a bit premature" given the project had not yet been approved.
He said one of the major hurdles in getting the project to the JRPP was traffic mitigation as the complex is proposed to be constructed at the corner of McGettigans Lane and Ewingsdale Rd, one of the shire's busiest roadways.
The council has previously raised concerns about the facility's impact on traffic flow along the main arterial road.
Mr Wertheimer said their studies found the proposed development would have "minuscule impact" on traffic with a 2% increase in traffic during peak times.
He said the company would also operate earlier surgery times to prevent adding to traffic pressures during peak times.
The Wertheimers are no strangers to the North Coast, Mr Wertheimer said with his father John and brother Gary frequently staying in Brunswick Heads.