It might be a hole now, but the site for Launceston General Hospital’s redeveloped ward 4K will be transformed into a women’s and children’s precinct by September 2019.
The five-storey redevelopment includes 36-bed facility housing Tasmania’s first dedicated adolescent mental health unit, with six single rooms and lounge, dining and outdoor areas for patients.
Excavation work has already finished and building started at the site, including structural work for a 38-space undercover car park below the extension.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson toured the site on Thursday with nurse unit manager Sonja Leonard, paediatrician Dr Christopher Bailey and members of the project management team.
He said it was time for an upgrade because ward 4K’s facilities were “past their use-by date”.
“What’s exciting is that the children of Northern Tasmania will get much better facilities,” Mr Ferguson said.
“We know [the adolescent unit] has been needed for a long time and we’re now building that infrastructure so we can better cater for adolescent health care needs including, and especially, mental health.
“Refurbishing the ward will mean the facilities meet the latest in modern standards and ensure the highest quality healthcare services are available to patients.”
Ward 4K nurse unit manager Sonja Leonard said staff were thrilled to see the unit’s plans taking shape.
“The development is going to be really exciting for the staff and patients in 4K. It is a purpose-built design and an up-to-date facility and it will be much more calming and a lovely environment,” Ms Leonard said.
“The extra space will add to the experience for staff and the patients and it is a more suitable, up-to-date environment to provide the care,” she said.
The ward 4K redevelopment also includes specialist clinics.
“The relocation of the women’s and children’s antenatal and postnatal outpatient clinics, which currently operate in ward 3D, will free up space in the hospital for more inpatient beds,” he said.
Ward 4K is still operating during construction, with the first stage on track for completion by September 2019.
The project’s scope was expanded with a funding increase to $20 million.
Work on the broader precinct is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020.
“The budget now supports the opening of those extra beds as well, so it’s not just the facility – it’s also the the operational expenditure,” Mr Ferguson said.
Ward 4K’s redevelopment is part of a $90 million investment in Launceston General Hospital.
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