A warm welcome now awaits the hundreds of people who walk through the doors of Wollongong Hospital each day.
This week, the new foyer off Loftus Street was unveiled as the latest step in the hospital’s $106 million redevelopment.
Wollongong Hospital general manager Nicole Sheppard said the polished interior, with its wide reception desk, was a great first point-of-call for those unfamiliar with the hospital.
‘‘Hospitals can be fairly daunting places for people coming to see someone they care for who is unwell, and they can be challenging to negotiate,’’ she said.
‘‘We now have a beautiful, warm and welcoming entrance for people to come into, and an obvious point for people to get directions and advice. Hopefully that takes some of the stress out of visiting or coming to hospital.’’
Ms Sheppard said the new foyer marked a ‘‘major milestone’’ in the hospital’s redevelopment, which is due for completion mid-2015.
The new Elective Surgical Services Centre includes an expansion of the emergency department and a new ambulatory care centre, as well as seven operating theatres, 60 new surgical beds, 14 recovery beds, 12 extended day-only beds and six more intensive care unit beds.
A $30.5 million car park development is also well under way, which will take the number of parking spaces to about 1400.
‘‘The work is on track, on time and on budget,’’ Ms Sheppard said. ‘‘Work will be finished mid next year, although small parts of the project will be complete around Christmas-time.
‘‘I thank members of the public and patients and staff whose support and understanding has been fantastic through this construction phase.’’
Wollongong Hospital director of clinical services Dr Raghu Murthy said staff were ‘‘extremely excited’’ with the changes.
‘‘It will certainly give our staff and patients significantly improved facilities to deliver high-quality care,’’ he said.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward inspected the new foyer with hospital management on Friday.
‘‘There’s currently major infrastructure investment in health right around the region – at Wollongong and Shoalhaven hospitals – and I’m fighting for funds for Shellharbour Hospital. I’m particularly pleased at how the upgrade at Wollongong is progressing; it’s long overdue,’’ he said.