A long-awaited infrastructure upgrade to improve emergency department access at Finley Hospital is expected to start next month.
It comes more than two years after concerns about access were first raised by the Finley Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, and more than one year since funding was allocated to the project by the NSW Government.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District regional general manager Rosemary Garthwaite says the $907,000 upgrade will include realigning the ambulance entry and a ‘‘reconfiguration’’ of the emergency department to be closer to the acute ward.
‘‘The improvements will allow the introduction of contemporary ways of providing patient care and improve the flow of patients and visitors in the ED,’’ Ms Garthwaite said.
‘‘The upgrade and streamlining of work spaces will also greatly enhance the ability of local doctors, nurses and paramedics to provide a much better service for local residents.
‘‘Construction works are expected to begin in March, following the completion of a public tender process, and be completed by June 30.’’
Ms Garthwaite said at this stage there is no scope for the allocated funding to address some community concerns about the hospital’s carpark or kerb and guttering.
The request was put to MLHD by Finley Chamber of Commerce health spokesperson Syd Dudley following a November meeting.
Mr Dudley says congestion is already an issue in the hospital carpark, which he says does not provide enough space to accommodate patients or visitors with gophers.
‘‘While specific funding to increase car parking spaces has not been provided for in this project, improvements to the safety and security of patients, visitors and staff remains an ongoing consideration,’’ Ms Garthwaite said.
Mr Dudley agreed the emergency department should take priority, but has urged MLHD to address the carpark soon after its completion.
In the meantime, Mr Dudley said he would continue to lobby Berrigan Shire and NSW Member for Murray Austin Evans to have kerb and guttering installed on Dawe Ave, opposite the hospital’s main entrance.