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Damaged maternity wing’s future uncertain

A section of scaffolding collapsed onto the temporary maternity ward at Lismore Base Hospital last year. Investigations are continuing. (Darren Coyne)

A section of scaffolding collapsed onto the temporary maternity ward at Lismore Base Hospital last year. Investigations are continuing. (Darren Coyne)

Mothers who have just given birth may be encouraged to go home from Lismore Base Hospital within four hours or moved to other district hospitals as a result of the continued closure of the damaged maternity wing.

A NSW Infrastructure Health spokesperson told APN media that the ward, which was damaged by falling scaffolding during a storm last month, remained the subject of an investigation by insurance assessors.

If the building is deemed irreparable, the Women’s Care Unit will continue caring for mother and babies in the Southern Wing of the hospital, which has limited beds.

The new maternity ward, part of the $260.25m Stage 3 redevelopment of the hospital, is not expected to be completed until the end of 2017.

The spokesperson said alternative arrangements could include discharging mothers and babies within four hours of birth, or moving them to either Casino or other hospitals in the district..

An inquiry is underway to determine the factors in relation to the roof collapse on the maternity wing.

‘Health Infrastructure does not want to pre-empt any outcome before the regulators have finalised their investigations,’ the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Lismore MP Thomas George said this week that the stage three redevelopment was on schedule.

Stage three includes a new emergency department, new emergency medical unit, emergency care fast track facilities, expanded medical imaging capacity, and new ambulance bay and drop off. It also includes a new renal dialysis unit and expansion space for the next stage of the redevelopment.

‘Work will also continue throughout 2016 on further stages of the redevelopment,’ Mr George said.

‘This stage will involve additional stories being added to the southern tower, providing space for peri-operative, in-patient women’s care and paediatric services.

‘A second tower, to the north of the new tower, will allow for the expansion of operating theatres, medical imaging and support areas.’


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