Major construction for the overhaul of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) in Sydney, Australia, has commenced with a sod-turning event.

This comes after the clearance of the State Significant Development Application for the redevelopment work.

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Government has pledged A$940m ($596m) towards the project, which will be used to deliver a new hospital building and the refurbishment of existing spaces.

This investment is claimed to be the most significant in RPA’s 140-year history.

The sod-turning ceremony for the project saw the presence of NSW Health Minister Ryan Park, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully, and Premier Chris Minns.

Scully noted: “It is an investment in our future to ensure the growing populations have access to the highest quality healthcare for years to come.

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“The project will generate 1400 construction jobs and 900 additional health-related jobs when it’s complete.

“I am pleased it will not only be able to provide high-quality healthcare but it will also be able to give the local economy a boost in the process.”

When complete, the project will deliver a new 15-storey clinical services building, as well as expanded and upgraded emergency and intensive care units.

While treatment spaces at the emergency unit will increase from 42 to 91, the adult intensive care bed count will increase from 49 to 74.

The redevelopment will also provide enhanced adult and paediatric inpatient beds, along with operating theatres and more interventional and imaging services.

In addition, the capacity of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and special care nursery will increase to 45 beds, from the existing 34.

A new open garden courtyard, along with improved signage and landscaping, will also be in place across the hospital campus.