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Design process under way for Normanton Hospital upgrade
A $40m new facility will replace a hospital in The Gulf, bringing “Brisbane standards” of infrastructure to remote communities.
Normanton Hospital is the latest in the line of recipients to gain from the government’s $1 billion Building Rural and Remote Health Program to replace aged infrastructure across rural and remote Queensland.
The construction contract has been awarded to Hutchinson Builders, known for their extensive work in building health facilities across the country including Midin Clinic in Atherton, Palm Island and regional New South Wales.
Hutchinsons Builders Team Leader Sean Lees said the project was in design and would be being the process of fabrication off site on November 20.
Majority of the build would be prefabricated and delivered on site towards the middle of next year, he said.
Given the constraints of really remote regional areas in regards to availability of skilled labour and particularly weather patterns, this way we have a tighter control over variables,” Mr Lees said.
“A brand new hospital will be built on the original site, it will be a fully functioning, brand new site up to current standards and along the way we will be able to utilise local industry when we receive the prefabricated buildings.”
North West Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Sean Birgan said he was proud to be involved in a project of this complexity and scale, providing facilities on par with metros.
“It's a circa $40 million development and there will be no compromise - it will be the same as something built in Brisbane and lead to great health outcomes,” Mr Birgan said.
The new, upgraded facility would be the point of difference, according to Mr Birgan, that would help attract staff in future which is currently at the 34 - 35 mark in terms of numbers.
Servicing a population of approximately 2200 people, Mr Birgan said they were challenged to look after 330,000 square km of outback.
“It becomes a really important facility to replace, not just for the needs of locals but also grey nomads and tourists that visit the region,” he said.
“Members of the north west community carried a higher burden of chronic disease, rheumatic heart disease, diabetes, and cardiac respiratory disease.
“Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are also unfortunately on the increase.”
Following design and community consultation, construction on site was set to begin early 2024, Mr Birgan said.
“It will be a one storey building with airconditioning, water treatment plants, power supply all upgraded and essentially replicate what the existing hospital provides,” he said.
“there will be an emergency department, inpatient beds and provide a much more sophisticated opportunity for telehealth medicine.”
There would be no temporary suspension of service during transition to the new facility and once the new facility was set up on a different piece of land within the hospital campus, the old hospital building would be demolished.
“It has been around for a long time, more than 30 years,” Mr Birgan said.
“It will be replaced with upgraded staff accommodation.”
As reported by Cairns Post and NWHHS on October 31, 2023.