A new helipad at Hervey Bay Hospital on the Fraser Coast in Queensland can now start receiving patients as part of the first phase of the $44.2 million Emergency Department redevelopment.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Cameron Dick, said a 125-space car park has also been completed and is open to the public.

“This will address some of the recent parking disruption resulting from internal roadworks,” Mr Dick said.

“The next phase of the redevelopment project, which is already underway, includes the building of six new ambulance bays – an increase from the current two – and excavation and site preparation work for the construction of the main building.”

Mr Dick said the new three-storey building would allow the ground-floor ED to almost double its current capacity from 19 to 37 beds.

“The project will also include an expanded Clinical Decision Unit and education and training facilities on Level 1, while Level 2 will include space for a future inpatient units,” Mr Dick said.

“This project has been made a reality thanks to the Palaszczuk Government’s Enhancing Regional Hospital’s Program and will enable us to meet the demands of our growing population.”

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board (WBHHS) Chair, Peta Jamieson, said it was wonderful to see the first milestones of the crucial infrastructure project become a reality.

“This redevelopment is one of the Board’s biggest current priorities, because it resolves capacity issues at the current emergency department, and it builds for the future of the Fraser Coast,” Ms Jamieson said.

“I’m particularly pleased to see the completion of the new car park, which is more than double the original 48 spaces planned.

“Our Infrastructure and Assets team has worked with the contractors to ensure we’ve maximised our car parking capacity, which is a great win for our patients and visitors.”

WBHHS Chief Executive, Adrian Pennington, said tenders were now open for the main construction phase, and it was expected the successful tenderer would be announced in August 2017.

“The early works phase is due to conclude in early to mid August, and it’s our hope that the main construction phase would be able to start immediately on its completion,” Mr Pennington said.

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