THE NEW $73 million Macksville District Hospital opened its doors this morning and welcomed its first patient, Macksville resident Enid Addison.
2020 has been a big year for Enid who wasn't expecting to become a newly-wed at age 91 and then to be the first patient at the new hospital at North Macksville.
Clutching a photo from her February wedding to her 86-year-old husband Eddie, Enid was transported on the brief journey from the old hospital to the new health facility where she was warmly welcomed by staff.
"I wasn't expecting to be the first patient, but I have to say it's very exciting to be part of history," she said. "It's such a lovely new hospital. I really love the view and how nice and peaceful the hospital is."
Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said patients were moved from the old hospital across to the new facility this morning, with everyone settled in their new rooms by lunchtime.
"Since the handover from the contractors last month, our staff have worked exceptionally hard to commission the building in preparation for receiving our first patients today," Mr Dowrick said.
"Thanks to all that preparation and teamwork this morning's move ran incredibly smoothly as we transferred our Emergency Department, Maternity and Inpatient services across. Our Community and Allied Health services are ready to transfer to the new site on Thursday."
The new hospital will provide increased capacity to meet the growing needs of the Nambucca Valley community. It includes 42 inpatient beds (single and double rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms), as well as Emergency Department, Maternity, Tresillian, Community and Allied Health and day procedure beds/treatment spaces.
While COVID-19 restrictions meant today's opening was a low-key affair, a virtual tour video has been made to give the community a chance to see the new hospital. Watch it here.