SINGLETON Hospital’s $2.5million emergency department upgrade should progressively come into use from March next year.
Preliminary works have begun and the main construction project was scheduled to kick-off in one month.
Health services manager Wendy Mason-Jones confirmed that tenders have now closed for the main redevelopment which will be built in stages and involve refurbishing some existing hospital areas and extending into the current ambulance bay.
Patients and staff will progressively occupy new facilities as they are completed and the whole redevelopment was expected to be completed in the second half of next year.
The installation of a new elevator began yesterday and should take four weeks to complete.
It will replace an ageing elevator which became unreliable in recent years.
Patients, visitors and staff will still be able to use internal stairs to move between floors.
While the elevator is being replaced temporary access to the lower floor will be from entry doors near the pathology department on the Boonal Street side of the hospital.
Access for the emergency department, imaging, maternity, surgical unit and other top floor services will continue at this stage from the main entrance.
The new elevator will eventually become the main access to the emergency department, admissions, X-ray unit and other top floor areas during the main construction period.
A temporary entrance will then replace the current main public entrance and ambulance bays will be relocated near the lower ground floor pathology department.
Communication cables and some infrastructure and utilities have been upgraded and a new back-up electricity generator has been installed to provide the emergency department and the rest of the hospital with power in the event of a mains electricity failure.
The redevelopment will increase emergency department beds from three to seven and include a new nurse triage area, resuscitation bay, acute treatment bay and decontamination area, room for mental health assessments, upgraded waiting and reception areas plus new public toilets and reconfigured ambulance bays.
Mrs Mason-Jones said new treatment and consultation rooms would provide improved comfort and privacy for patients, including women experiencing difficulties with pregnancies.