HEALTH bosses have hailed the state budget as a win for south-west hospitals with millions earmarked for mental health beds in Warrnambool and the long-awaited redevelopment of Port Fairy hospital.
Reaction was glowing from the heads of South West Healthcare (SWH) and Moyne Health Services.
Read the announcement - BUDGET: Cash injections for south-west health services
SWH chief executive John Krygger received a phone call from Premier Denis Napthine informing him the hospital had been successful in its claim for a $4.3 million prevention and recovery care (PARC) service.
“It has caught us by some surprise because although we’d done a business plan we were not positive that it would get up in this budget,” Mr Krygger told The Standard.
“Our mental health team are delighted with the news.”
The 10-bed facility — designed as a residential setting — will act as a “step down” for patients leaving ward nine while helping others potentially to avoid more acute treatment.
“It’s a community setting ... it will provide a more appropriate setting for some patients and maybe even help avoid an acute submission.”
The centre will ease huge demand on acute submissions to ward nine.
“Ward nine has very high occupancy and it is full most of the year.”
Mr Krygger said construction would likely begin “towards the end of next year” at the site on Moore Street in Warrnambool.
Meanwhile, Moyne Health chief executive David Lee told elated staff yesterday the hospital would at last start major upgrades after being given $3 million for a new community health centre.
The cash sets in place the first steps towards the $4.5 million project allowing for the demolition and redevelopment of the centre.
“We’re delighted, it’s just fantastic news for Moyne. We’re setting up a service that will respond to the needs of the community for the next 20 years,” Mr Lee said.
The current centre will be demolished to be replaced by a double-storey building with underground carpark and new state of the art archives.
“At the ground level we’ll have a new gymnasium and a range of allied health services including podiatry and psychology,” Mr Lee said.
“We anticipate construction starting in the next six to 12 months.”
Moyne Health still needs to find another $1.7 million from the federal government to fit out office space on the first floor of the building.
“That will be for allied health services but we’ll also look at the possibility of private dental services in Port Fairy,” Mr Lee said.
He said the health service was also waiting to hear from the state government on whether it would fund the $2 million upgrade to urgent care, which could include the relocation of Port Fairy’s ambulance station to the hospital site.
Premier and Port Fairy resident Denis Napthine described the hospital’s facelift as “much needed”.
“Moyne’s Port Fairy hospital is the oldest country hospital in Victoria, and the government is pleased that we are able to acknowledge its history with a secure future,” Dr Napthine said.