THE state government turned the first sod today on the site of the new building in the $200-million redevelopment of Wyong Hospital.
Key features of the redevelopment will be a six-storey building featuring a new emergency department, operating theatre, and medical imaging department.
The new facility will also include more inpatient beds and intensive care services, enhanced paediatric services and an additional 114 parking spaces.
NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Natasha Maclaren-Jones turned the first sod and released fly-through vision to give the community a sneak peak at how the completed project would look.
"True to our word, the NSW Government is improving and expanding health services on the Central Coast to provide the community with access to world-class healthcare close to home," Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.
"Our government has invested well over half a billion dollars into public health care on the Central Coast in the past five years, ensuring the region's health services can meet the challenges of a growing, ageing and diverse community."
Richard Crookes Construction is the main works contractor.
Local Labor MPs described the start of works as overdue, and warned that much more was needed at the hospital.
"The NSW Liberal government needs to guarantee that the original $200m commitment is sufficient to fully deliver the promised re-development," Member for Wyong, David Harris, said.
"I talk to Wyong Hospital staff on a regular basis and they are over worked, particularly the emergency department.
"Wyong Hospital is under increasing pressure and the government needs to address staffing and security issues urgently."
Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley, said the community had waited much too long for the upgrade, and the possible cost of parking at the hospital remained a concern.
"This upgrade shouldn't come at a cost, like the Liberals' outrageous plan to charge patients, visitors and workers to park at the hospital," Ms Catley said.
Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch (Liberal), welcomed the milestone for Wyong.
"We know that 75,500 extra people will call the Central Coast home between 2016 and 2036, and this redevelopment provides the health services our growing region needs and deserves," Mr Crouch said.
"With this investment we are also supporting the transformation of the Coast into a precinct for health, research, innovation and education which will provide jobs and economic growth."
The Wyong Hospital redevelopment was part of a network of health services the state government was delivering to the Central Coast, he said.
This includes the soon-to-be-completed $348-million redevelopment of Gosford Hospital and the new Hamlyn Terrace and Toukley Ambulance stations delivered under the $122 million Rural Ambulance Infrastructure Reconfiguration program.
The state government had also contributed $20 million towards the development of the Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute, Mr Crouch said.
Liberal Member of the NSW Upper House for the Central Coast, Taylor Martin, announced the start of the construction of the Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute, in September.
"The record investment in health infrastructure on the Central Coast will open up additional employment opportunities for locals, especially for doctors and nurses," Mr Martin said.
Mr Harris said the hospital upgrade was first promised before the 2015 election, and comes only after the Wyong community fought off the state government's privatisation plans for the hospital.
The Wyong Hospital redevelopment is scheduled to be completed in early 2022.
For more information see the project website at: gwhr.health.nsw.gov.au.