IT will be spectacular!
Gippsland Southern Health Service CEO, Gary Templeton uttered those words last week in announcing it’s all systems go for the new Leongatha Memorial
Mr Templeton is not given to effusiveness, but he used the word “stunning” as well.
Health service board president, David Harvey, has been on tenterhooks awaiting word from the bureaucrats that the schematic design phase is underway.
Now, it is.
That means tenders can be called in September/October and a contract let by year’s end.
Building will start in early 2012 and the new $30 – $35 million facility will be ready by the end of 2013.
Mr Templeton said its final cost won’t be known until tender time.
The State Government allocated $20 million in its budget last year and the remainder will be made up by the health service.
“We’ve said that right along,” Mr Templeton said. The hospital’s design has to fit with a government template, but there is leeway for the health service to tinker around the edges.
Its construction will bring to a close nearly a decade of what Mr Templeton described as “a lot of time, effort and money” in trying to have the hospital rebuilt.
He said the new facility would be “fantastic for the community for the next 50 years”.
“I don’t think there has been a rebuild of a hospital this size in rural Victoria for a long time,” Mr Templeton said.
“When the new hospital opens, we will have rebuilt all our facilities in the space of 10 years.
“The quality of care we will deliver is really quite stunning.”
Deputy Premier, Peter Ryan, said he was “absolutely thrilled” the rebuild has reached this stage.
“It has been a magnificent joint community effort led by the board and Gary in his important role,” he said.
He congratulated the “sheer persistence” of the South Gippsland community in achieving “this magnificent asset” which will be without peer in regional Victoria.
Mr Templeton said there would be increasing emphasis on day procedures, supported by Wonthaggi Hospital becoming a sub regional base. The range of procedures undertaken locally is likely to increase.
The CEO said one of the most marked advancements will be in the standard of operating theatre.
The new hospital will provide 25 acute beds (including maternity), 10 same-day acute beds, a dedicated emergency area, operating theatre and procedure room, obstetric procedures suite, medical imaging, pathology and a central supply department.
Medical and palliative care beds will be housed in an elevated part at the rear of the new building, commanding views across the countryside.
Floor space will cover around 6350 square metres.
The external design will be very similar to Koorooman House, which will be joined to the new hospital so that one kitchen can serve both. A combined roof size of 8500 square metres will enable all the buildings to be almost 100 per cent self sufficient in rain water.
Rain captured by Koorooman House has already saved over two million litres of water in the past financial year.
“We will continue that trend with the new hospital,” Mr Templeton said.
The first section underway will be the one that houses community health. The rest will follow and, because the new hospital will be constructed behind the current one, the only disruption will be construction noise.
Mr Templeton said the old facility would continue to function until the replacement is ready and an assurance has been given to the health service board that the old buildings will last the distance. Some date back to the 1950s.
The most critical drama would be a break in the water pipes, but Mr Templeton said back up work had been carried out.
Staff have been briefed on the design and Mr Templeton said when plans for the new hospital are finalised, they will go on public display.
If population growth demands it, there’ll be plenty of room for expansion.
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