PATIENTS, staff and the odd early visitors who've managed a 'sticky' at the new $73 million Macksville Hospital are unanimous - it's a first class facility.
While the hospital became operational yesterday, COVID-19 restrictions stymied any wholesale public exhibition, and it was only this morning that an official opening of sorts could be managed.
That saw a visit to the Nambucca of Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who while impressed by the facility, observed it was only what the community "deserved".
The original plan for a $50 million redevelopment of the old Macksville Hospital was eventually displaced by a fresh construct on a new site - something which Mr Barilaro said was unquestionably the "right decision".
This was echoed by both local State MP Melinda Pavey and Nambucca Valley mayor Rhonda Hoban.
Cr Hoban said the new hospital even had scope "for expansion, if it's needed".
Mrs Pavey said the old hospital remained on standby should it be needed during the current coronavirus pandemic - though that was looking increasingly unlikely.
The Member for Oxley said the old hospital would eventually be decommissioned ... and chirped that as Property Minister she'd welcome any suggestions to the State on what might be done on the old site.
Mid North Coast Local Health District Board chair Warren Grimshaw said the new hospital was a "magnificent outcome for the Nambucca Valley and the whole of the North Coast, particularly the Mid North Coast".
Mrs Pavey said the hospital would look after the community "from cradle to grave", and boasted the first Tresillian unit in regional NSW.
The last substantial investment in the Macksville Hospital - at the old campus - came to the Emergency Department after the Clybucca bus tragedy on the Pacific Highway.
Mrs Pavey said there had been significant spending since 2011 in every hospital in the Oxley electorate.
And there could be more good news to come for regional NSW, with Mr Barilaro hinting that the State was looking to fast-track its $90 billion infrastructure plan.
One of many nice stories behind the changing of the hospital guard at Macksville is that of deputy director of Nursing, Lisa Slater. Lisa started working at the old hospital as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) as a 19-year-old when she was at uni studying to be a nurse.
Her father, Graham Mayze, was a local doctor for 30-plus years, so Lisa and her brother and two sisters pretty much grew up in and around the old hospital.
Mrs Pavey said many in the community had helped 'make' the new facility.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our staff, our Community Advisory Group and our Aboriginal Reference Group - your input at every stage of this project has helped ensure and shape this wonderful new health facility," she said.
The new facility includes 42 inpatient beds (single and double rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms), as well as emergency department, maternity, Tresillian and day procedure beds/treatment spaces. The new health campus is also home to Community and Allied Health services.
Current COVID-19 screening on arrival at the new hospital and visitor restrictions remain in place.
Take the tour of the new hospital: