Work has begun on a new $17.5 million Ambulatory Care Centre at Grafton Base Hospital, marking the beginning of a revolution in health care for the Clarence Valley, according to Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis.

Mr Gulaptis joined health officials and members of the local community at a sod-turning ceremony marking the official start of construction.

“This is a big project funded by the Nationals in Government which will allow more locals to be treated locally and that is what the Nationals are all about,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“In addition, people power has helped me get the NSW Government to commit to a $263 million redevelopment of the hospital for a healthy long-term future for a growing Clarence community.

“This particular project is about ambulatory care, which is a fancy way of saying hospital services that don’t require you to stay overnight.”

The entire project includes a new two-storey ambulatory care building; new loading dock; new links to the existing hospital campus; and a new public drop off zone.

New or enhanced services include: Oncology, Chemotherapy and Haematology; Renal Dialysis Unit; Physiotherapy; Occupational Therapy; Podiatry; Speech Pathology; Paediatric Outpatient; Specialist General Medicine; Fracture Clinics; Dietetics and Nutrition; Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Occupational Therapy Outpatient Clinics; and Outpatient Clinics for patients with chronic conditions including Cardiac and Respiratory Rehabilitation services, Diabetes Education and Diabetes Foot Clinics.

Mr Gulaptis said the project was about providing health services, not just for the community of Grafton, but also for people living throughout the region.

“Construction of the new Ambulatory Care Centre is due to be completed in early 2020,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“Staff and other stakeholders have been involved in designing the building to ensure the space reflects the needs of the community now and well into the future.”