Joan Rylah said St Helens needs a new hospital

CLOSE LOOK: Parliamentarians take a look at the proposed plans for the new St Helens Hospital with the architects. Picture: Tarlia Jordan
CLOSE LOOK: Parliamentarians take a look at the proposed plans for the new St Helens Hospital with the architects. Picture: Tarlia Jordan

The new St Helens hospital is one step closer to being under way after a parliamentary hearing was conducted on Thursday. 

The hospital’s director of nursing Denise Callister said the new plans had received “very positive” feedback from the community.

She gave evidence to the parliamentary standing committee explaining the need for a new hospital and how those issues were addressed in the new plans. 

The chair of the committee, Joan Rylah MP, said building the new hospital was urgent. 

“The biggest issue here I think will be around the flooding that has taken place in this hospital and ensuring that it is well above the water level,” she said. 

“There has been flooding three times in the last two years, they have had to be evacuated numerous times. It sounds like it’s been a major issue.”

ARTIST IMPRESSION: The proposed entrance of the new St Helens Hospital. Picture: supplied

ARTIST IMPRESSION: The proposed entrance of the new St Helens Hospital. Picture: supplied

Mrs Rylah said it worried her that parts of the current hospital did not meet standards.

“This is not something that is on a future wish list this is very much on a let’s get going list. But our role in public works is to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed so that the plans are ready that it is going to be value for money for the Tasmanian taxpayers,” she said. 

The new site will have the same 10-bed capacity, and will allow for further development in the future to cater for growing demands. 

The hospital is expected to cost $12.1 million and get under way in October. It is expected to be completed in 12 months. 

ARTIST IMPRESSION: The proposed emergency department of the new St Helens Hospital. Picture: supplied

ARTIST IMPRESSION: The proposed emergency department of the new St Helens Hospital. Picture: supplied

Mrs Rylah said the purpose of the parliamentary hearing was to see the site and listen to community feedback. 

After Thursday’s hearing, the committee deliberated whether to sign off on the hospital’s plans, they will then prepare a report to be tabled in parliament. 

“It would have to be a significant issue to say no because minor issues can be dealt with. We wouldn’t say no because we didn’t agree with the colour scheme for example, it has to be something that is really significant in the design,” Mrs Rylah said. 

Some of the funding has already been announced in the 2016-17 budget, with the rest expected to be announced in the upcoming state budget.