Club Cowra

Sod Turned For New Hospital

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

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IMAGE: Cowra Mayor Bill West, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, Cowra Health Services Manager and other health staff turn the first sods of the new Cowra Hospital last Wednesday.

The first sod for the new Cowra Hospital was turned last Wednesday, signalling the official start of the construction of the $110 million project.

It has been a long time coming since the initial $70 million fund-ing announcement for the new hospital was made in February 2019, with the master planning phase of the project showing that funding was going to fall well short due to inflation. After a hard fight by Cowra Shire Council and Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, an extra $40 million was committed by the NSW Government as part of its 2022-2023 budget.

Ms Cooke shed tears when speaking at the sod turning ceremony, saying it was a long, hard battle to deliver the new hospital Cowra needed and deserved.

“The start of early works marks a major milestone for this significant project which will transform healthcare for our region,” Ms Cooke said.

“This $110.2 million redevelopment will provide our community with improved access to new and enhanced services, including the hospital’s first CT scanner and upgraded inpatient beds within a new, contemporary facility.

“Our community will also benefit from a new Tresillian Residential Unit which will provide new parents seeking specialist care and support in the early years of parenting with access to these services, closer to home.”

The new $110.2 million hospital will deliver:

  • An emergency department,
  • A general medical and surgery inpatient ward, including spaces to provide palliative care
  • A perioperative service (a range of surgical procedures),
  • A maternity unit with a dedicated nursery,
  • Ambulatory care (services for outpatients) and Hospital in the Home,
  • Oral health (dental clinic),
  • Renal dialysis (dialysis treatment for out-patients),
  • Oncology (chemotherapy treatments),
  • Community and allied health
  • Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol services,
  • Tresillian inpatient beds for new mothers and their babies, and
  • A medical imaging department including a new CT scanner and ultrasound, and
  • Staff accommodation.

Cowra Health Services Manager Pauline Rowston said the first step of the project was deconstructing a series of old, unused buildings at the back of the main hospital building.

“There are some old buildings that have just been used for storage, as well as the boiler house and the nurses quarters that will be deconstructed first,” she said.

“The developers will then landscape the area to flatten it out, before starting the construction of the new hospital.” “Once the new hospital is completed the existing one will then be deconstructed.”

Mrs Rowston said around 95% of equipment in the new hospital would be brand new, with around 5% to be moved across from the existing hospital.

She said the addition of the ultrasound and CT scanning facilities at the new hospital would be one of the most important, as the existing hospital does not have these.

“It will mean we won’t have to send patients all the way to Orange or have a nurse escort them down to the private diagnostic imaging practice, and we will be able to keep them on site” she said.

The new hospital is planned to be completed by January 2025.

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