Construction work for the $290m (A$438m) Shoalhaven Hospital redevelopment in New South Wales, Australia has begun with a sod-turning ceremony.

The ceremony was held in the presence of Australian Health Minister Ryan Park and Member for the South Coast Liza Butler.

Commencement of construction work comes after clearance of the State Significant Development Application.

Melbourne-headquartered company John Holland, the project builder, is currently establishing site fencing around the perimeter of the existing green area.

All the helipad services of the hospital will be carried out from HMAS Albatross naval air station during the construction period.

For the remaining work, the hospital will utilise the Rural Fire Service helipad at Albatross Road.

Park said: “When complete, the redeveloped Shoalhaven Hospital will provide the majority of emergency, critical and acute care locally, so that fewer patients will need to be transferred to hospitals in Wollongong and Sydney.

“This major redevelopment will provide an enhanced experience for patients, visitors and staff, and will ensure the local community will receive vital health care closer to home.”

The redevelopment work includes construction of a new seven-storey acute clinical services building.

This building will feature a new intensive care unit (ICU), a dedicated cardiology inpatient unit and a rooftop helipad for direct access to the ICU and emergency unit.

It will also have a psychiatric emergency care centre, a mental health inpatient unit, an emergency department and an emergency short-stay division.

In addition, the number of operating theatres and endoscopy rooms will be doubled.

Once the building is constructed, renovation will begin at the existing hospital building.

Butler said that the redevelopment work will create nearly 800 direct jobs in the construction phase and thousands of indirect jobs over the project’s life.

Beginning of construction comes almost a year after the design of the hospital redevelopment project was unveiled.

The new building will have a new ICU, a psychiatric emergency care centre and both a cardiology and a mental health inpatient unit.