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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Interim expansion boosts COVID-19 response

One of the busiest emergency departments in the state is about to get even bigger.

Work started this week on an interim expansion at the John Hunter Hospital Emergency Department (ED) to assist in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

It will provide an additional 12 beds and procedure room, delivering a 40% increase in ED capacity.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Catherine Cusack, welcomed the announcement of the project, which was brought forward by five months.

“The John Hunter Hospital ED is the busiest in NSW and one of the busiest trauma centres in Australia,” she said.

“I am very pleased to announce the fast-tracking of these works, which will assist in alleviating pressures in the ED.”

Hunter New England Health Chief Executive, Michael DiRienzo, said it was planning to use the extra space for the treatment of paediatric patients while allowing the existing ED more options and beds for managing an expected surge with winter and COVID-19 response.

“One of the key benefits of these works is that they are able to be completed without any operational impact to the existing ED,” he said.

The interim expansion is a part of the NSW Government’s $780 million John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct, which will deliver planned improvements to clinical services and facilities, increased interventional and imaging services, expanded and redeveloped inpatient units, and enhanced ambulatory care services.

Works on the expansion are scheduled to be completed by mid 2020. It is a joint effort between Health Infrastructure and Hunter New England Local Health District.