Coronavirus has put a damper and what was supposed to be a momentous occasion as the new Mudgee Hospital opened its doors to patients this week. But that hasn't cooled the excitement from patients who were this week transferred to the new building.
Ward Kane, the first patient cannulated in the new facility said it's the best facility he's been to in the region, including Dubbo and Wollongong.
Mr Kane has been on renal dialysis for more than a decade and has been using the old hospital's facilities for about five years.
"I was travelling across to Dubbo three times a week, getting back at midnight for about 18 months. So then a chair became available here in Mudgee upstairs in the old hospital and then I've been doing it there in the interim," Mr Kane said.
Mr Kane said the benefits of the new hospital's facilities were immediately evident.
"I'm going into a 21st century state of the art renal dialysis suite. It's great for the patients, we've got good personal areas, so it's good for germ and infection control," he said.
"We have the latest machines, which are more conducive to better dialysis for different types of patients...we're getting more nursing staff coming on board. A more dynamic group that are okay with doing dialysis.
"There is more potential for more people able to use the facility in the town and room for more people, also the nephrologist has a room there to see the patients, so you can come across from Dubbo and spend the day here."
Mr Kane said the area itself is much more pleasant to be in.
"It's a nice airy room, you have a view now, you can look out onto Meares Street, watch tv and in the future I think we will get internet," he said.
"It's fresh, it's clean. And just the facilities are close at hand now, it's so much easier to get in there and use everything.
"Most cities and regional cities would like to have our renal centre, it's really good. I've been down to Wollongong and Nowra and ours is better than that at the moment too.
"The patients are grateful for the work the nursing and administration staff have done to get thE hospital up and running. It's a great credit to them."
The Mudgee Guardian understands a visit from Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders and NSW Health Minister was cancelled or put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions. Nonetheless, current patients were transferred this week to the new facility.