31 August 2022

Design for Cowra's new hospital redevelopment ready for comment

| Edwina Mason
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Cowra Hospital’s redevelopment takes advantage of the enhanced views across Cowra and district, but upgraded inpatient beds and new health services including the hospital’s first CT scanner and ultrasound are now also part of the package. Image: NSW Government.

Next year it is hoped shovels will break the ground as work starts on Cowra’s new hospital but, for now, a taste of what’s to come has been released in the form of concept designs of the new $110.2 million development.

The new, purpose-built health facility in Cowra is expected to transform health services and facilities in the region, thanks to five years of campaigning by Cowra Mayor Bill West and the community.

That community with what they described as “the worst emergency department in the state” in a survey, captured the attention of NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard when a 3706-signature petition was tabled in parliament by local MP Steph Cooke.

Two years later – in February 2019 – Minister Hazzard initially committed more than $70 million to redevelop the hospital or build a new one.

But the fight wasn’t over.

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When the master plan was released earlier this year, Cr West expressed serious concern over its shortcomings.

“The proposed reduction of a treatment bay in the emergency department, the reduction of a birthing suite and the reduction in treatment chairs in the hospital master plan are just some of the points causing concern amongst our local doctors, nurses, allied health staff and residents,” he said at the time.

An additional $40 million announced as part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget, brought the total investment to $110.2 million and a bit of tweaking to the overall plan.

“It’s been an exciting journey but it’s taken us a while to get to,” Cr West said.

Cowra Mayor Bill West, outside the existing hospital building, says the time has come for the community to provide feedback on the new design. Image: Cowra Council.

Extra emergency department bays, a second full birthing suite, three additional chairs for renal and oncology, four more dental chairs and enhanced training and education facilities have now been included in the design.

Located across two levels on the existing site, the overall redevelopment includes an emergency department, general medical and surgery inpatient ward, a peri-operative service, a maternity unit with a dedicated nursery, ambulatory care/services for outpatients, dental clinic, renal dialysis, oncology, community health and mental health, drug and alcohol services and tresillian inpatient beds for new mothers and their babies.

Improved access and parking, new landscaped areas and enhanced views within the hospital also form part of the project.

Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said the local community had indeed played a key role in shaping the design for the new hospital which will provide upgraded inpatient beds and new health services including the hospital’s first CT scanner and ultrasound.

“Community involvement in the design of contemporary health facilities is so important to getting it right and it’s great to see the Cowra community so engaged in the project,” Mrs Taylor said.

Cr West said although the latest designs are preliminary he says it marks an exciting step in what will be a fairly lengthy project.

He said the community is now being encouraged to share their feedback on the concept design and ask questions at a series of upcoming stakeholder and community information sessions with the project team.

Drop-in sessions will be held at Cowra Civic Centre on:

  • Wednesday 31 August 2022 from 5 pm – 6:30 pm
  • Thursday 1 September 2022 from 9 am – 11 am
  • Wednesday 7 September 2022 from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

The project team will also be available to answer questions at Kendal Street on Thursday 1 September 2022 and Wednesday 7 September 2022.

A virtual session will take place on Thursday 8 September 2022 at 5 pm. To register for the online session or to provide feedback on the concept design please contact the project team via phone on 9978 5432 or email [email protected] or visit cowrahospitalredevelopment.health.nsw.gov.au

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said construction is on track to commence in 2023 and the community will continue to be updated as planning progresses and we move towards construction.

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