The $88 million Byron Central Hospital at Ewingsdale has been completed.Photo Contributed
The $88 million Byron Central Hospital at Ewingsdale has been completed.Photo Contributed Contributed

How the Byron Central Hospital came to be

WITH the new Byron Central Hospital welcoming its first patients today, we look back on the journey to this point:

January 2011: Proposal to rezone land earmarked for a $70 million, 54-bed centralised hospital at Ewingsdale put on public display. At this point, some Byron residents have been pushing for a centralised coastal hospital for 30 years.

February 2011: NSW Coalition Government promise $1m to go towards the shire's new central hospital at Ewingsdale.

August 2011: Five months after being swept to power, the Coalition Government is yet to hand over dollars promised for the planned Central Byron Shire Hospital.

August 2012: Local steering committee sign off on plans for a new central hospital for Byron Shire on Ewingsdale Road.

June 2014: NSW State Budget allocates $1.5 million toward planning for a new 50-bed hospital at Ewingsdale.

September 2014: Early works contract for the construction of Byron Central Hospital awarded to Brookfield Multiplex.

October 2014: Byron Central Hospital involved in controversy when NSW Labor Opposition yesterday moving a motion in Parliament to force the Liberal-National Government to release all documents on privatisation plans for the hospital.

June 2015: Construction of Byron Central Hospital allocated $57.3 million in the State Budget.

June 2015: Construction and planning for the Byron Central Hospital well under way and local community get a first-hand feel for the new site at an open day.

September 2015: Exterior of the new Byron Central Hospital completed and the building reaches "lock-up stage" as NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner visits.

November 2015: NSW Health Services Union and the Nurses and Midwives Union question the Northern NSW Local Health District over jobs when the new Byron Central Hospital opens, saying the health district had repeatedly delayed the release of the new hospital's workforce plan which details staffing and service arrangements.

November 2015: Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Chris Crawford denies union claims any staff will be made redundant with the opening of the new Byron Central Hospital next year.

March 2016: Completion of $88 million Byron Central Hospital at Ewingsdale achieved by contractor Brookfield Multiplex one month ahead of program.

April 6 2016: Equipment fit-outs and staff training are well underway at the newly constructed Byron Central Hospital in preparation for opening as The Northern Star gets to tour through the new building.

May 2016: It is announced that a 20-bed mental health facility which is the first of its kind in the Northern New South Wales Heath District will be housed in the new Byron Central Hospital.

May 2016: Northern NSW Local Health District continues to conduct scenario testing and make final adjustments at the newly completed Byron Central Hospital.

NNSW LHD Chief Executive Wayne Jones said the commissioning phase of the hospital had identified an issue within the internal messaging system that needed to be addressed prior to opening to patients.

June 7 2016: First patients move in as patient transfers of existing patients at both Mullumbimby and Byron District Hospitals take place and those two hospitals close.