After three years in Government we are now building Tasmania’s future, and the $689 million RHH Redevelopment is symbolic of the progress we have made.
Labor first announced they would build a new Royal Hobart Hospital in 2006. When they were kicked out of office in 2014 not a single brick had been laid on the project, and $10 million had been wasted investigating building a new hospital at Macquarie Point – with former Premier and Health Minister Lara Giddings now saying she “regrets” not building the new hospital there.
This is both hypocritical and ridiculous given the Giddings Government signed a legally binding contract to build on the current site and then allowed the project to run off the rails.
In contrast, under three years of the Hodgman Liberal Government, real progress has been made.
Two rear buildings have been reduced to rubble and a major section of the main building brought down, with construction of the new tower expected to begin in the second half of the year.
In its place the Hodgman Government will deliver a modern, 10-storey facility with increased capacity for 250 beds and an additional seven operating and procedure rooms, which will form part of the new interconnected surgery precinct.
This will add capacity that will further help to address our elective surgery wait list, which is already the shortest on record as a result of the targeted investment by the Government.
In the year to June 2016, 19,000 Tasmanians had their surgery – that’s 3000 more than the annual average over the preceding five years and the highest per capita rate of any state or territory.
For the first time Tasmania’s capital city hospital will feature a helipad for critical aeromedical care and a new hyperbaric chamber will be installed.
There will also be a “one-stop” arrival and departure point for patients, with reception, admissions, waiting area and cashier all co-located.
The remainder of the structural demolition works is anticipated to be completed over the next two weeks and clearing of the site completed by the middle of the year.
While there will be an increase of trucks and some brief traffic disruptions while major components are demolished and removed from the site, I again ask people for their patience and understanding.
That’s because the inconvenience will be worth it, as by mid-2019 we will have a new, state of the art hospital.
To provide safe patient care during the redevelopment, we built a 54-bed inpatient building on Liverpool Street in response to advice about the dangerous patient risks left behind by Labor’s unworkable idea to send vulnerable patients into the suburbs.
In recent weeks we announced 27 new beds will open across three locations in the South. At all times while works continue, patient care is our number one priority.
The Hodgman Government is committed to providing the best health service to Tasmanians and with record investment, we are achieving this.