Warrnambool's Rotary House a refuge in tough times

Clarifying the eligibility of patients at Rotary House are (from left) St John of God Hospital CEO Glen Power, Rotary House committee chairman Andrew Suggett and business manager for South West Healthcare Corey Grapentin. Picture: AARON SAWALL

Clarifying the eligibility of patients at Rotary House are (from left) St John of God Hospital CEO Glen Power, Rotary House committee chairman Andrew Suggett and business manager for South West Healthcare Corey Grapentin. Picture: AARON SAWALL

SOARING demand for Warrnambool’s medical services from patients outside the south-west region has boosted demand for the new Rotary House emergency accommodation centre.

People from as far as Mount Gambier and west Wimmera have been appreciating the opportunity to stay overnight in the $1.4 million house complex built last year opposite Warrnambool base hospital.

However, there has been confusion over eligibility with some not realising it is for anyone outside the official city municipal boundary who is either a patient or their loved ones are receiving medical care at any Warrnambool hospital or aged care facility.

Some people have interpreted it as specifically for base hospital patients.

South West Health Care and St John of God Healthcare representatives yesterday told The Standard they were keen to clarify eligibility.

“There has been a great uptake for Rotary House,” South West Health Care business services manager Corey Grapentin said.

“People appreciate the quality and ease of obtaining emergency accommodation during what can be traumatic times.

“Rotary House is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but it’s advisable to book in advance.

“Even dads can use it when their partners and babies need to stay at hospital for special-care nursing.

“It can be used for a few hours through to two weeks.”

St John of God Warrnambool chief executive Glen Power said his organisation had recently distributed brochures which promoted the emergency accommodation venue.

“It’s a superb facility for people from outside our city needing hospital or medical treatment in Warrnambool,” he said.

“We’ve had a 13 per cent increase in patients from outside the region coming to St Johns and its specialists.

“Numbers coming from South Australia have risen from 48 to 79 in 12 months and there have been significant numbers coming from as far as the west Wimmera.

“Warrnambool is becoming the region’s epicentre for specialist medical care.”

Of the 17,141 inpatients  cared for at  Warrnambool base hospital last financial year,   44 per cent came from outside of Warrnambool.

Rotary House chairman Andrew Suggett said the venue’s 12 units included a family room and one specifically for people with disabilities plus a community kitchen-living area and laundry.

“The usage has trebled,” he said.

“For the four Rotary clubs which pooled their efforts to build the house there’s been a great spin-off with combined social events.

“It’s inspired a new sense of purpose among Rotarians.”

Eligible clients can book Rotary House on 5564 4105 or 5563 1666 after normal business hours at $38.50 a night per person.

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