The Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, Australia, has opened a new $5.2m hyperbaric chamber, three times the size of its old one, hospital officials have said.

The hyperbaric chamber is divided into four separate compartments and pressurises air while patients inhale 100% oxygen.

The chamber has been in partial operation since July 2011 and has already served 1500 patients, where 60% were treated for the effects of radiotherapy and 25% for diabetic ulcers.

Dr Robert Turner, medical director of Prince of Wales Hospital’s hyperbaric medicine unit, praised the new chamber, describing the old one as "like a little submarine, it was very claustrophobic, it was very dark".

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, who officially inaugurated the chamber, said that the new chamber would place NSW on the world map in terms of hyperbaric treatment.

The Prince of Wales Hospital is a major teaching hospital that serves all of New South Wales.

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The 440 bed hospital provides medical and surgical services, as well as allied health services.