The long awaited new Maitland Hospital is really starting to look the goods. With the 'bones' of building completed the interior and exterior fit-out now have to be finished before it can officially be opened.
Located at Tenambit the site, size and services offered by the hospital has met with some criticism. But in good news for Upper Hunter communities more specialist medical services have been attracted to the vicinity.
The new hospital was first announced in 2011 with an expected spend of $712 million on a 400 bed facility to service the population growth centres of the Hunter.
Today it has become a $470 million facility expected to be be open in early 2022 offering a wider range of health services for the growing population of the Maitland and the Hunter communities.
The hospital will provide emergency care, chemotherapy chairs, surgical services, critical care, maternity services, paediatric care, cardiac catheterisation procedures, inpatient beds, mental health services, palliative care, outpatients clinics, renal dialysis, oral health services and medical imaging.
It will provide 10 chemotherapy chairs and two enclosed bays.
The Inpatient Units at the new Maitland Hospital are located on levels 3, 4 and 5. Each of the Inpatient Units will be a mix of single and double rooms. Each room will have a window outlook, allowing natural light into the hospital as well as showcasing the view of the Maitland area.
Among the additional medial services being offered in the vicinity is a day oncology unit now operating at Maitland Private Hospital. "The commencement of the Day Oncology Unit at Maitland Private Hospital will provide relief for many Maitland and greater Hunter Region residents who are travelling long distances to access oncology services," Dr Robin Paterson said.
"Anyone who has been through chemotherapy themselves or alongside a loved one, will be able to tell you how exhausting the therapy is both physically and mentally.
"Removing the travel component for those patients by offering this service locally is an exciting step forward for both the community and the hospital."
Turning the sod on their new cancer treatment centre adjacent to the new hospital last week was GenesisCare, who currently operate a facility in Gateshead which is often used by patients from Singleton undergoing radiotherapy treatment.
Described as a 'one-stop-shop' for cancer care, GenesisCare Maitland will offer patients access to a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, and allied health specialists.
The new facility will have the capacity to deliver 14,000 treatments to 800 patients a year, opening its doors to patients in mid-2021.
Kay Sullivan from the Singleton Cancer Appeal is happy for Maitland's patients, however sees little benefit for patients from Singleton and the Upper Hunter.
"I am very pleased that Maitland are receiving these facilities, it is another step towards helping and assisting cancer patients outside the Newcastle area," she said.
"However, I am not sure how this will assist Singleton and patients further north so much."
Despite the new facility being closer to Singleton, there is only twenty minutes difference between Maitland Private Hospital and the Newcastle facilities.
"It's still a near hour drive from Singleton with little to no public transport from Singleton to East Maitland," Kay added. "We would still love to see Singleton Hospital with a minimum of three beds to help assist not only the Singleton area but the Upper Hunter too."
by Louise Nichols and Julia Moore