WITH tenders for a new $1.35 million ambulance station at Ewingsdale being finalised by the end of July, work on the new station is expected to start in the near future.
Member for Ballina Don Page said the ambulance station would be built on the same site as the proposed new Byron Central Hospital and should be completed early next year.
"The money for the ambulance station has already been allocated and is in the current budget,” he said.
Last week Byron Shire Council voted to adopt a planning proposal to rezone land at Ewingsdale to make way for the new hospital.
Mr Page said the council was unanimous in its decision and the planning proposal would now be forwarded to the NSW Department of Planning.
In a speech to the NSW Parliament last week, Mr Page said the residents of Byron Shire would be better served by a larger, central hospital at Ewingsdale.
"I am pleased the Byron Shire Council supported the rezoning to make way for the new hospital," Mr Page said.
"The community has been waiting for many years for this hospital and I have recently submitted a petition to the parliament bearing another 2350 signatures in support of the new facility.
"A new hospital will provide 54 beds and offer patients a wider range of medical services than are currently available at the Byron Bay and Mullumbimby hospitals.
"A larger central hospital will not only see an expansion of beds available in the Byron Shire, but the level of service delivery will improve substantially.
"Hospital staff will be better equipped to deal with more complex medical, surgical and emergency situations and paediatric patients will also be admitted.”
Mr Page said that more patients would also be able to stay locally rather than be treated at larger hospitals such as Lismore and Tweed.
He said a larger hospital would also make it easier to attract and retain specialist clinicians and to provide the latest medical technology.
He said the New South Wales Department of Planning would now amend the LEP to allow for the hospital.
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