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11 October 2001

New Health Facilities for Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri and Brewarrina on Track

Information sessions on three new health facilities for the Upper Western Sector of the Far West Area Health Service have recently been held for communities and health staff.

Representatives from the New South Wales Health Department, the FWAHS and the consultants overseeing the projects went to Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri and Brewarrina to inform communities and staff about the SRHIST program - Strengthening Rural Health in Small Towns program (also referred to as the Multi Purpose Service - MPS - program).

Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri and Brewarrina are among 18 communities in New South Wales in the SRHIST Program. Thiess Pty Ltd have been engaged as the Managing Contractor to oversee construction of the new facilities.

Project Manager, Tony Burg, Construction Manager, Ian Buchan, and architects Henry Ahn and Adrian Welke were among the representatives to speak at the information sessions.

FWAHS Director of Health Service Development, Kim Browne, who was also at the sessions, said it was an opportunity to introduce the contractor, review the design options and go through the construction process.

"In Lightning Ridge for example the design was originally to keep the Accident and Emergency block and build on the back of the existing building.

"However after reviewing the design options it was decided to recommend building a free standing facility off Pandora Street" Ms Browne said. "This option is now being explored with NSW Health."

The Lightning Ridge facility will comprise:
- Accident and Emergency
- Four inpatient beds
- 20 residential aged care beds ( a combination of nursing home and hostel level)
- Ambulance Station
- Kitchen
- Office space
- Existing buildings will allow for an expansion of primary health and mental health and counselling services.

It is expected the construction will start in June 2002 and be completed before the end of that year.

There will be four separate phases of construction.
1. Site preparation (demolition, earthworks, water, sewerage, foundations).
2. Building preparation (building to be fully constructed inside a factory at either Parkes or Forbes).
3. Installation of the building.
4. Finishing off (landscaping, roadworks).

Ms Browne said the contractors assured the attendees at the information sessions that the building would not be a typical transportable building.

"Thiess has said the quality of construction will be equal if not better than if it were built on site.

"One very positive aspect of this method is the speed of the process from start to finish which will be 20 weeks.

"The group has also said there would be opportunities for local sub contractors during phases one and four of the construction process.

"In addition they are proposing to offer training positions in either their Parkes or Forbes factories for a couple of people from each of the communities" Ms Browne said.

Both the Collarenebri and Brewarrina health facilities will be built using the same construction process.

The Collarenebri facility will include:
- Accident and Emergency
- Three acute beds
- Ten residential aged care beds (a combination of nursing home and hostel level) - Ambulance Station
- Kitchen and office space
- Primary Health Care
- Doctor's surgery

The facility will be situated adjacent to the current building. New staff accommodation will be built before the current staff quarters are demolished along with one end of the current building.

The starting date for Collarenebri's new facility is April 2002 and it is expected to be completed in 20 weeks.

The Brewarrina Facility will include:
- Accident and Emergency
- Eight acute beds
- 12 residential aged care beds ( primarily nursing home beds with some hostel)
- Ambulance Station
- Kitchen and office space
- Primary Health Care

The new Brewarrina facility will be located in front of the current building, which will later be demolished. New staff quarters will be built before the current staff quarters are demolished. The FWAHS will also be looking at ways to continue to deliver an outreach service in the centre of town.

The starting date for the Brewarrina facility will be June 2002 and it is expected to be completed in 20 weeks.

Detailed designs of all three facilities are expected to be available for viewing in their communities within a few weeks.

If community members have any queries regarding the new facilities they may contact their Health Service Manager or their local Health Advisory Council members.

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