Parking facilities at the hospital are currently undergoing a substantial, multi-million dollar upgrade which is scheduled to finish late in September 2020. The works will provide the hospital with 52 additional car park spaces, and 8 accessible parking spaces, improve the traffic and pedestrian flow and improve staff and patient safety.
The Hartley House Car Park has been re-designed and re-paved, resulting in additional parking spaces for visitors and staff. The Main Car Park and “Tennis Court” car park are being brought to the same level and merged, resulting in a further increase in parking spaces (and a wonderful view of the mountains). The roundabout, which prevented large vehicles from entering the hospital has been removed, and the access road will be re-paved. Several new walkways have been constructed allowing easier inter-building access.
BHAG was pleased to have been invited to participate in the planning process by MNCLHD.
As a result we have been able to work co-operatively with the hospital and the earthworks company AJ Civil Projects throughout the project.
In addition to the earthworks, weed trees have been removed, wood much has been made available to the volunteer gardeners, several mature Elkhorn and Staghorn ferns have been relocated to the Hewitt Arboretum, the entrance to the arboretum has been cleared and mulched, and the time capsule which was located in the old roundabout has been preserved for later installation at the entrance to the main hospital building.
BHAG looks forward to continued co-operation with the Mid North Coast Local Health District on future upgrading and improvements to the Bellinger River District Hospital.
On Wednesday 10th June, Bellingen Hospital held a morning tea to celebrate the installation of a solar hot water system for Hartley House, and to thank the members of the community responsible for pushing the project to completion.
You can read a potted history of the 9 year battle to install solar hot water at Bellingen Hospital by clicking on the link below …
And you can read Barb Moore’s celebration speech to see who contributed to the success of this project …
This is another great day for the Bellingen community!
Coffs Coast Advocate, Ute Schulenberg – 14th June 2011
You don’t need to tell patient Paul Jones how badly Bellingen Hospital needs an upgrade – rainwater fell in his ward while he was recuperating at the weekend. The heavy rain bucketing the Coffs Coast further highlighted the state of disrepair at this much-loved community hospital.
“The floor was covered in water and I nearly lost my balance,” said Mr Jones.“Staff had to mop it all up and put towels down to soak up the excess. Myself and my roommate were then moved into the room next door because staff were concerned we might injure ourselves.” Mr Jones said from the discolouration and the peeling paint it appeared the leak was an old one. And that’s not all – the drips are in the television lounge, too.
“There’s a bucket on one of the chairs, which has been there for the past three days,” he said. “When you watch TV, you listen to the water dripping into the bucket.”
Bellingen Health Action Group chairman Pia Dollmann said the state of the hospital’s infrastructure had been an issue since the group began in 2009.
“We have raised this repeatedly with the health department bureaucrats,” Ms Dollmann said. “Apparently some patchwork repairs were done a year ago but that clearly has not fixed the problem. “I have also been told there is water coming in around some power points, which is potentially an even bigger problem – imagine if someone plugged in an appliance at the wrong moment. “We got a quote for a new roof and it was about $90,000 – that’s not that outrageous.” She said she was impatient and annoyed at the inaction which included plans to improve facilities for nursing staff and long-term patients using funds from the Mary Faichney Bequest.
“The plans are there but nothing is being implemented, apparently because there are other plans in the pipeline but no-one has said what is actually happening,” Ms Dollmann said.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Mid North Coast Local Health Network said it was aware of the situation and Bellingen Hospital staff was dealing with it as the problems arose.
Stewart Dowrick, CEO of the Midnorthcoast Health Network, has stuck to
his promise and organised the return of the hospital bus to Bellingen. Deputy
chair person of BHAG, Barbara Moore is now calling for expressions of interest
from Bellingen community groups to manage the bus for community use in the
future. Community Transport has been the first cab off the rank and put their
hands up to add the bus to their fleet. Community Transport currently cater for
the transport needs of the region for the elderly and disadvantaged at
subsidised rates and they have taken over the transport gap that was left when
the bus was removed from Bellingen Hospital. Please call Barbara Moore on 6655
1898 to express your interest or opinion on the future management of the bus,
which was purchased from community donated funds.