Coleraine to get $35 million healthcare boost

A MULTI-MILLION-dollar infrastructure boost for healthcare in the Hamilton region is creating a feeling of shared well-being for Western District Health Service.

Major projects have begun opening their doors as part of the $35 million capital works program, with the remaining projects tipped to finish at the end of next year, according to the service’s 2012 annual report. 

They include the $26.5 million overhaul of the Coleraine Health Precinct, including the Thomas Hodgetts Primary Care Centre, which opened in September. 

This year has also marked the finalisation of a $2.85 million upgrade of the Grange Residential Care Service, a $4.1 million redevelopment of the Hamilton Base Hospital rehabilitation facilities and the completion of the Merino Community Health Centre.   Figures from the annual report show thousands continued to pass through the service, with 7562 patients treated, 2764 operations and 219 births at the Hamilton Base Hospital campus.

A further 54,951 outpatients and 7221 patients were treated at the Hamilton Base emergency department and by first-response treatment units at Coleraine and Penshurst campuses. 

Western District Health Service chief executive Jim Fletcher said yesterday the major disappointment had been the state government’s withdrawal of funding for the National Centre for Farmer Health.

The advocacy unit, which promotes and educates on rural health and well-being was forced to downsize when the last state budget failed to deliver funds. 

“At the moment we have research grants and a few staff are employed,” Mr Fletcher said.

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