Praise for next step in hospital's upgrade

INDEPENDENT Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott, who negotiated the upgrade of Port Macquarie Base Hospital following the 2010 federal election, has welcomed the construction tender being awarded for the $110 million project.

Watpac Construction (NSW) and National Buildplan Group will build the fourth and fifth pods of the hospital, the largest Commonwealth-funded health infrastructure project in the electorate's history.

The expansion includes a new 30-bed medical inpatient unit, 12 extra surgical beds, an expanded 'hot floor' Critical Care Unit, expanded emergency department and the long-awaited cardiac catheterisation laboratory.

"Works on the main contract will get underway this month, and should be completed later next year, while the last of the minor works, construction of an additional 225 car parking spaces, finished up last month," Mr Oakeshott said.

"This redevelopment will see the hospital expand by more than half its existing size and is testimony to the determination and lobbying of the health professionals and support staff at the hospital who continued to provide exceptional care to their patients despite the difficulties of growing service demand."

Mr Oakeshott congratulated the Commonwealth on its $96 million investment in the hospital, the largest commitment ever from the Commonwealth to a hospital in the electorate of Lyne.

He also congratulated former Port Macquarie MP Peter Besseling on securing the $14 million state funding component and the current state MP Leslie Williams for her on-going support of the project.

Port Macquarie Base Hospital is one of 105 hospitals and health clinics being upgraded, expanded or rebuilt because of $1.8 billion, through the Health and Hospitals Fund, exclusively quarantined for rural and regional communities. The funding was negotiated by Mr Oakeshott and New England MP Tony Windsor in 2010.

Another Mid-North Coast hospital, Kempsey District, is about to undergo an $80 million redevelopment thanks to the fund.

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