GLOBAL design firm Woods Bagot has been appointed as the architect of the new Maitland hospital, the NSW government has revealed.
Maitland MP Robyn Parker told the Newcastle Herald yesterday of the decision, four months after the former PGH bricks site at Metford was chosen for the facility.
APP Corporation, a leader in consulting services, has been named the project managers, and Donald Cant Watt Corke has been appointed as the cost managers.
A master plan and a business case for the hospital will now be developed, which will consider the development of a health precinct at the site, the clinical and capital works required for the hospital, the surrounding road network and the nearby Metford railway station.
It will also look at requirements for car parking and the impact on the environment.
Planning is expected to be finished by the end of next year.
“The appointment of the lead design team is an exciting step in the delivery of a new hospital for Maitland,” Ms Parker said.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said the announcement proved the government was moving forward with its commitment, despite claims from NSW Labor that it was cutting the NSW health staffing budget by $775million over the next four years.
The government allocated $20million to plan and acquire land for the new hospital.
It is expected the hospital will offer an intensive care unit, an emergency short-stay unit and cancer services.
Opposition Leader John Robertson made a fleeting visit to John Hunter Hospital yesterday to share data obtained by the Labor Party, which he said showed that the government had already cut $10million from the Hunter New England Health staffing budget this year.
He said a further $7.2million of staff cuts would be made before June 30, $26.2million would be cut from Hunter hospitals in 2014-15 and $34.7million in 2015-16.
“Everyone from nurses and radiographers to emergency department clerks and cleaners are feeling the pressure from hospital jobs being left unfilled and positions being slashed,” he said. “Funding cuts of this magnitude simply cannot be justified.”
Mr Robertson was unhappy with the Hunter New England Health July-September performance profile, which showed there was a one-year wait for cataract extraction at John Hunter, a 10-month wait for ear, nose and throat surgery at Maitland, and a 10-month wait to have a tonsillectomy at Belmont.
Ms Skinner said the NSW health budget was a record $17.9billion this year with $1.2billion allocated to rebuild the state’s hospitals and health facilities.
She acknowledged government departments had made efficiencies but said the government had continued to invest in its workforce to enhance patient care.