3 November 2021

New $50 million Tumut Hospital to be operational by 9 November

| Edwina Mason
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New Tumut Hospital under construction

Construction of the new Tumut Hospital is nearing completion and the facility will be fully operational by 9 November, 2021. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

A flash new building has tongues wagging in Tumut with its fresh, white modern exterior a monument to decades of crusading by the community and within the richly embossed halls of parliament.

With construction completed right on schedule, services at the new $50 million Tumut Hospital are anticipated to begin on Tuesday, 9 November, with an official opening slated for later in 2021.

Behind the scenes, the new facility is already undergoing a test run with staff training and orientation underway, but the buzz in the community is palpable after years of lobbying, petitioning and pleading with the NSW Government.

Long gone is the asbestos, holes in walls, water running down walls when it rained, fluctuating floor levels and outdated equipment of the old hospital that was lamented in NSW Parliament in 2004 by then Member for Burrinjuck Katrina Hodgkinson who also highlighted issues of overcrowding, lack of privacy and questionable sanitary conditions.

Old Tumut Hospital

The old Tumut Hospital will be decommissioned and demolished in the coming months. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Heath District.

She had teamed up with her parliamentary colleague, former Member for Wagga Wagga Darryl Maguire, in his dogged battle for a better health service centre in Tumut which succeeded, in part, with a suite of upgrades, but now the old building is being laid to rest as the new hospital opens.

In the coming months, staff will bid farewell to the 121-year-old building.

Murrumbidgee Local Heath District CEO Jill Ludford said temporary access arrangements to the new hospital would be in place from 9 November until mid-2022 to facilitate final works for the project, which include demolition of the old hospital buildings, construction of a new Simpson Street entry, as well as parking, landscaping and a new helipad.

Ms Ludford thanked the community for their patience.

“It’s an exciting time as we prepare to welcome patients, staff and visitors to the hospital,” she said.

Right next door, Tumut Health Service has the allure of offering integrated health services under one roof, including acute and emergency care, community health, outpatient and ambulatory services.

Alongside support services, including radiology, pharmacy and pathology, the new facility will have a quiet room for families, a cultural room, car parking for staff and service vehicles, and a new helipad set to service the communities of Tumut, Adelong, Batlow and Gundagai.

Tumut Hospital nursing staff on site visit to new facility

During a site tour in February 2021, nursing staff (from left) Lorraine O’Sullivan, Shirley Adams, Anne Banwell, Kerrie Ellison and Stephanie Gilvear got a feeling for the operating theatre space at the new Tumut Hospital. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Heath District.

The three-year project involved more than 60 per cent of subcontractors and suppliers, and around 80 per cent of onsite labourers from Tumut and the surrounding region.

Among them was Holcim – whose Tumut plant supplied concrete for the floor of the new building – Garry Gillespie Constructions (decking, plant room slab installation), Gray Surveyors, A Murray & Sons (temporary hydraulics, enabling works), National Cranes & Engineering (site shed installation), S&M Withers (temporary car park), Tumut Building Supplies, Tumut Tree Surgery (tree removal) and Tumut Valley Fencing (site fencing).

The Murrumbidgee Local Heath District has also swiftly circumvented community concerns about hospital staffing.

In 2019, Tumut Community Association started a change.org petition calling for two full-time doctors with emergency and anaesthetic qualifications to be employed at Tumut Hospital. It amassed 5655 signatures.

The move came after several reported incidents, including the January 2016 death of local Wiradjuri woman Naomi Williams, 27, who was 22 weeks’ pregnant when she died of septicaemia at Tumut Hospital.

Murrumbidgee Local Health District has provided assurances to the community the hospital is fully staffed with GP-Visiting Medical Officers providing emergency, obstetric and anaesthetic services, along with five visiting surgeons providing a range of procedures.

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Hansie Armour9:44 pm 04 Nov 21

We love it !!! The colours are subtle and relaxing. 25 Years plus of lobbying and hard work and now it is finally ready to serve the people of Snowy Valley Council. The community has been involved and consulted all the way and we congratulate the team of people that bought it all together. We deserve it….and we appreciate it. THANKS Hansie Armour Chair Tumut Hospital LHAC

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