Construction work is set to start on the Queensland government’s first Public-Private Partnership in the hospital sector and what the government claims is the first significant new – not replacement – hospital in Australia in more than 20 years.
Though work on the project will not officially start until next month, state Premier Campbell Newman visited the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday to turn the first sod on the Sunshine Coast University Hospital project.
The new hospital, which will form the centrepiece of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Services network of facilities, will be built as part of the 20 hectare Kawana Health Campus, which will incorporate a new Skills, Academic and Research Centre (SARC), a co-located private hospital operated by Ramsay Health Care, and the Kawana Health Innovation Park.
Scheduled to open in 2016, the hospital will initially have 450 beds and will grow to become a 738-bed facility by 2021 with the ability to be expanded by 900 beds if needed.
The site, on the corner of Lake Kawana Boulevard and Kawana Way at Kawana, was chosen due to its central location within the hospital’s anticipated service catchment area, as well as its connectivity to proposed public transport and Kawana Town Centre, and the existence of dedicated expansion zones surrounding the site, enabling it to grow in the future. The site’s layout was also a key as it enables several emergency vehicle access points. It was also deemed to be an appropriate distance from the Nambour General Hospital, the other acute hospital on the coast.
The masterplan for the project aims to draw upon the natural healing environment of the Sunshine Coast.
Primary buildings will be organised around a main courtyard, which features eating facilities, relaxation and play areas and links to the hospital street, which connects all clinical departments.
Clinical departments will be concentrated together in the west of the building while the east side will feature research and teaching facilities associated with a new Skills, Academic and Research Centre.
The mental health unit will sit adjacent to the emergency department, which is positioned in such a way to make it easy to find from any point on the campus.
Above the car park, which will be linked to the hospital via overhead pedestrian bridges, will be a 100-place childcare centre.
Newman says the new hospital, which will include services such as neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, maxillofacial surgery and specialised trauma services, will be timely for the region, and will mean that as many as 10,000 local residents per year will be spared a journey to Brisbane for important medical treatment.
The hospital will be built by Exemplar Health, a consortium including Lend Lease, Spotless Group, Capella Capital and Siemens, which has entered into a contract with Queensland Health to design, construct, finance the hospital as well as maintain the buildings for 25 years once the hospital opens.
Construction will officially commence next month. A peak construction workforce in the range of 1,800 to 2,600 workers will be required.