Seven beds by March for Lismore Base Hospital
AN INTERIM seven-bed upgrade of Lismore Base Hospital's emergency department is expected to start in June and be ready for patients by March next year.
Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner yesterday dropped in to check on plans for the larger $80 million upgrade of the hospital, due to start early next year and open by 2016.
They were joined by Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin and Lismore MP Thomas George, and spoke with Northern NSW Local Health District chairman Dr Brian Pezzutti and CEO Chris Crawford.
The Federal Government will fund $60 million of one of Lismore's largest-ever building projects, while NSW will fund the remaining $20 million.
First on the schedule for the upgrade is "enabling works", which require the relocation of major units, including endoscopy, to make way for an expanded emergency department.
The interim $2.95 million upgrade of the emergency department is a necessary measure to alleviate the lack of space and beds until 2016.
The seven-bed emergency medical unit will include two closed-off beds, including one exclusively for children.
The existing ED does not allow staff at the nurses' desk a clear line of sight to all beds and does not include a pediatric section, which means young children are at risk of witnessing traumatic sights such as road accident victims and mental health patients having a psychotic incident.
"This upgrade will improve experiences for patients at Lismore hospital emergency department until the major redevelopment is finalised in 2016," Mrs Skinner said.
Doctors with the Lismore Base Hospital Medical Staff Council, through their spokesman pediatrician Chris Ingall, have said the hospital needs at least another 100 beds to accommodate patients on wards throughout the facility, which would allow emergency patients to be transferred out of the ED once they had been triaged.