3 November 2021

Canberra Hospital Master Plan close to release as work starts on expansion centrepiece

| Ian Bushnell
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ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith

ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith is confident the Canberra Hospital Expansion project is on track for completion in 2024. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The final shape of the ACT Government’s 20-year vision for the Canberra Hospital campus will soon be known with the pending release of its Master Plan.

The Canberra Hospital Master Plan has been a separate process to the $600 million Canberra Hospital Expansion project, which is now underway. The expansion marked a milestone on Monday, 1 November, with construction commencing on the centrepiece building to deliver more emergency department, surgical and critical care capacity for the ACT and surrounding region.

The Canberra Hospital Master Plan will guide the campus’s transformation, which includes the expansion project.

The ACT Government has also released a video animation of the expansion project which takes viewers through the development stages to completion.

ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said cabinet will give its final consideration to the Canberra Hospital Master Plan “very soon”.

The Canberra Hospital Master Plan was whittled down to two options after initial public consultation, and in July 2021 it was released for public consultation, which closed on 1 September.

One option provides a connected design that co-locates core clinical health services in the north of the campus and has a large, central open space.

It has a standalone logistics centre to handle services related to medical supplies, waste, laundry and food, with dedicated access, and also provides an internal loop road network and pedestrian paths.

The second option also provides space for long-term future expansion, but has a smaller central open space and an additional large open space to the north of the main clinical services tower.

The logistics centre is sited underneath the new central open space and occupies some of the potential underground parking space.

In July 2021, Ms Stephen-Smith said the feedback received showed the community wants an accessible and safe hospital campus that is easy to navigate.

She said on Monday, 1 November, that not everything in the Master Plan will happen overnight, but it will give people an impression of where Canberra Hospital is heading.

“How we’re looking to build not just a clinically excellent environment that integrates training and research as well as fantastic patient care, but also how we’re creating a greener and more healing environment for our staff, and for our patients and their families,” said Ms Stephen-Smith.

She said that with the start of construction, hospital staff, patients and visitors will now start to see the Critical Services Building take shape.

“The Critical Services Building will give us a bigger and better emergency department; a substantial increase in the number of operating theaters; more beds; and more capacity to do critical treatment at Canberra Hospital that is so important not just for the people of the ACT, but also for the surrounding regions,” said Ms Stephen-Smith.

She said a lot of of preparatory work had already been done, including construction of the new Building 8, which officially opened in June 2021, as well as a new administration building and the refurbishment of spaces across the campus.

READ ALSO Contract milestone: Take a video tour through the new Canberra Hospital

Demolition work is well progressed, and on Monday, 1 November, excavations started for the new ambulance bay and basement. Cranes are expected to be erected early next year.

Ms Stephen-Smith said despite some disruption to the project due to COVID-19, she remains confident it is on track for completion in 2024.

Major Projects Canberra director-general and chief projects officer, Duncan Edghill, said the structure itself should be erected by early 2023, when fit-out will begin.

He said the project’s contractor, Multiplex, will be working with clinicians on the interior fit-outs, including creating prototypes so facilities can be seen in real form before they are built, and so clinicians can train in those places ahead of the facility becoming operational.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT Government will continue to work with consumers, clinicians and the community to create a truly healing environment; to ensure clinical spaces work efficiently; and to help the hospital’s neighbours deal with the project’s impact on the surrounding environment.

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$600 million project that is not even part of the “Master Plan”?? Was it just slapped together on a whim?

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