BHP gives $2.5m to Muswellbrook Hospital

Mining giant BHP Billiton has donated $2.5 million for a new emergency department at Muswellbrook Hospital.

With the state government’s allotted $4 million under the Resources for Regions program, the hospital now has $6.5 million at its disposal for the expansion.

Hunter New England chief executive Michael DiRienzo said the expansion would mean more space for emergency care.

“It will include additional beds and more treatment spaces, as well as improved patient and staff facilities and new ambulance bays and entry,” he said.

“This is a large investment in health for the Upper Hunter,” he said.

The Newcastle Herald reported it is one of the largest corporate donations given to Hunter New England Health.

BHP Billiton NSW Energy Coal Asset President Peter Sharpe said the company was aware Muswellbrook needed better access to medical services and amenities.

“BHP Billiton is proud to support the communities in which it operates,” he said.

The expansion comprises of three new acute treatment beds, a paediatric treatment bed, a two-bed resuscitation bay for critical patients, and pathology and pharmacy spaces, among others.

The department will also get Telehealth and digital technology updates that will connect Muswellbrook with specialists and clinicians at other hospitals such as John Hunter and Maitland.

Other facilities include space for equipment and supplies, and an area to examine x-rays and write clinical notes.

The expansion will start next month and is set to finish before the end of 2014.

BHP Billiton donated $1 million to the Red Cross’ Queensland Floods appeal earlier this year.

The money came from the company’s “Sustainable Communities” fund.

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