Belmont Hospital in NSW's Hunter region has begun work on a new $4.6 million patient care unit.
The 16-bed addition will provide care and treatment for patients who need extra support before they can safely return home, and will see part of see the hospital's third floor fully refurbished to house the facility.
According to state minister for health Jillian Skinner, the additional beds will be used to take the pressure off existing acute hospital services in the Newcastle area.
"The unit will provide much needed additional beds which will be used by patients who are no longer acutely unwell but who need extra care before they can go home," she said on April 24.
"These are patients who need extra support before being discharged – such as elderly patients who may be settling into new medication regimes."
Some health insurance policyholders may be able to access additional acute and palliative services – as well as shorter waiting lists and a choice in doctor – by attending a private hospital.
The new Belmont unit is scheduled to open in February 2013.