The Austin Hospital project is the largest hospital redevelopment ever to be undertaken in the state, delivering leading health care to Victorians.
2006-10-06 - Austin takes the cake at major health awards
A four million dollar turnaround in the fortunes of Austin Health has helped deliver a $1 million surplus and an award as the State’s top metropolitan health service.
Premier Steve Bracks said a series of innovative business practices and excellent patient care programs also secured Austin Health the Premier’s award for Metropolitan health service of the year at last night’s annual Victorian Public Healthcare Awards in Melbourne.
“Austin Health has made a remarkable contribution to metropolitan health care and has had an equally remarkable turnaround in improving financial and patient access targets in the past year,” Mr Bracks said.
“One huge improvement came in the number of patients waiting more than 24-hours in emergency, which improved by 94 per cent from 176 in 2004-05 to just 10 patients in 2005-06.
“And Austin Health has given 1500 patients their surgery this year, cutting the elective surgery waiting list from 2441 in 2005 to 1874.
“Austin Health has a strong culture of innovation and excellence across all services, highlighted by its Psychiatric Nursing Development and Education Centre (PNDEC) and its Infectious Diseases Electronic Antibiotic Advice and Approval System (IDEAS).”
Mr Bracks said PNDEC had been crucial to the professional development of mental health staff while IDEAS has improved the prescription of antibiotics in hospitals.
“The outstanding performance by Austin Health this year is reflected by it’s strong showing tonight, also winning the categories of Excellence in continuity of care and Excellence in consumer and carer participation,” Mr Bracks said.
“Austin Health had an outstanding night, also winning the categories of Excellence in continuity of care for a diabetes program and Excellence in consumer and carer participation for its aged care work.
Austin Health – which includes the Austin Hospital, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre – was also highly commended in three other categories including the Minister for Health’s team and individual awards.
Ms Pike said the 2006 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards showcased an outstanding range of programs and initiatives highlighting Victoria’s world-class hospital and health system.
“The quality of entrants for this annual award event set the bar at a new level this year, with many deserving entries unable to be recognised, really emphasising the strength of the Victorian public health system,” she said.
2005-11-03 - New Austin Mental Health Unit on track
The Minister for Major Projects, John Lenders, today visited Victoria’s largest hospital redevelopment to inspect progress on the $17 million mental health unit under construction in Heidelberg.
Mr Lenders said the new mental health unit, housing 30 acute and specialist mental health beds and 25 secure extended mental health beds, was part of the $408 million Austin Health Redevelopment and Mercy Relocation project.
“When construction is complete, Melbourne’s north-east suburbs will have a first-rate mental health unit,” Mr Lenders said.
“We are a third of the way through the project, and already we are seeing an impressive major project take shape.
“The Bracks Government is investing in key infrastructure projects to deliver better health and other key services for all Victorians.”
Mr Lenders and local MP Craig Langdon toured the construction site on the corner of Burgundy Street and Upper Heidelberg Road while workers had their lunch break.
Mr Lenders said the bulk of the steel frame shell of the new building had been erected and seven of the nine concrete slabs had been laid since construction started in March this year.
Mr Langdon said the Bracks Government was delivering better infrastructure for health services.
“The Government is building modern, state of the art facilities for doctors, nurses and other health professionals to deliver better health care for people living in Melbourne’s north east.”
Mr Lenders said in the May State Budget, funding of $8.1 million was allocated to construct the 25-bed, secure, extended-care unit. “This unit replaces Bunjil House, the temporary mental health facility at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital nearby,” Mr Lenders said.
“Meanwhile, construction work continues at the Austin Hospital which is now partially vacant after the new Austin tower was occupied earlier this year.”
Mr Lenders said remaining work on the Austin Mercy redevelopment project included:
· New day surgery and recovery facilities, including two new operating theatres,
· A new finishing kitchen for the Austin Hospital and Mercy Hospital for Women, and;
· Extension and refurbishment of the existing Austin Hospital medical library.
“Construction and refurbishment in the existing Austin Hospital is due for completion in 2007.”
2005-05-07 - Premier opens Victoria’s largest medical precinct
A plan which began three days after the election of the Bracks Government in 1999 has come to fruition, with the opening of Victoria’s newest public hospitals.
The redeveloped Austin Hospital and the relocated Mercy Hospital for Women are the culmination of the Government’s first pledge – to rebuild the Austin and keep it in public hands.
To celebrate the official opening of the hospitals by Premier Steve Bracks, the Government staged an open day today for thousands of members of the local community.
“The two hospitals co-located on the same Heidelberg site are powerful examples of the Government’s commitment to rebuilding the health system,” Mr Bracks said.
“This is undoubtedly one of the most significant projects delivered by this Government. The health services the Austin and Mercy provide will make Melbourne an even better place to raise a family.”
Mr Bracks said the Government has invested $376 million in the project to develop Victoria’s largest medical precinct as part of a $2 billion-plus vision to rebuild hospitals across the State.
“The next stage of this vision was announced in last Tuesday’s Budget, with a $358 million capital boost to expand and upgrade hospitals,” Mr Bracks said.
“The Austin and Mercy redevelopment is the largest single investment in health the north-east suburbs have ever received, and was delivered by Major Projects Victoria on time and on budget. It is the largest hospital redevelopment to ever be completed in Victoria.”
Mr Bracks said the Mercy Hospital for Women would welcome its first patients from May 15, while the Austin will take its first patients on May 24 and be fully operational from June 6.
“The open day gives the community the chance to have a first look at this state-of-the-art medical facility that brings together two of Victoria’s best hospitals,” Mr Bracks said.
“They will be able to tour through the different sections of the hospitals and get a first-hand idea of how they will enhance the healthcare of the local community.
“But this will probably be the last time that residents will be able to take a leisurely stroll through, as within days and weeks both hospitals will be in full operational swing and at the forefront in delivering quality hospital and health services to thousands of patients.”
Mr Bracks said the new Austin and Mercy would play key roles in helping the Government achieve its Budget initiatives, including admitting an extra 40,000 patients across the State and a blitz on elective surgery waiting times for up to 10,000 patients experiencing long times to treatment.
“Our work at the Austin and Mercy builds on the Government’s achievements over the past five years,” Mr Bracks said.
“These include the rebuilding of 26 hospitals, the opening of Casey Hospital at Berwick – the first totally-new hospital in Victoria for more than 20 years – the hiring of 5200 extra nurses and the decision to build a new Royal Children’s Hospital.
“This is in stark contrast to the previous Government, which closed hospitals, slashed nurse jobs, cut hospital budgets to the bone and had decided to sell off the Austin.
“It gives me a great sense of pride to see the Austin, once earmarked for privatisation, has now risen up to become a revitalised public asset for all Victorians.”
Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said the Austin and Mercy redevelopment is one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the State and part of more than $10 billion of major infrastructure projects being facilitated by the Bracks Government.
It also created jobs, manufacturing and contracting opportunities. More than 700 people were directly employed at the redevelopment site during the peak of construction.
AT A GLANCE
The new Austin Hospital features:
·400 acute beds
·A 30-bed new intensive care unit
·One of the state’s largest adult emergency units and a specialist six-bed facility for children
·A purpose-built, 26-bed high-tech spinal unit to serve all of Victoria and Tasmania
·Infectious diseases isolation rooms in each ward
·Nearly a quarter of rooms will be single-bed
·En suite facilities in each room
·A unique teaching, training and research precinct including a teaching space and laboratory on each level.
The new Mercy Hospital for Women features:
·128 adult beds
·62 cots in the special care nursery and neonatal intensive care unit
·13 birthing suites and four family birth centre suites, all with en suites
·20 outpatient suites
·10-bed acute assessment area
·Four operating theatres
·Teaching and training facilities.
2005-03-15 - Work begins on $9.45m Austin Mental Health Facility
Work has begun on a 30-bed, purpose-built mental health facility at the Austin Hospital with the turning of the first sod on the site by the Minister for Major Projects, John Lenders, and the Minister for Health, Bronwyn Pike.
Mr Lenders said the new $9.45 million Adult Acute Inpatient Unit and Specialist Mental Health Services would be ready for patients by the middle of next year.
“The new unit is an important part of the largest hospital redevelopment project in Victoria and one of the most significant infrastructure projects currently underway in the State – the Austin Health Redevelopment and Mercy Hospital for Women (A/RM) Project,” Mr Lenders said.
“The Bracks Government is leading the way with a record investment of almost $12 billion in major project infrastructure across the State, creating jobs and contracting opportunities and contributing significantly to the health of the local and Victorian economy.”
Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said the new unit would provide a much-needed boost to psychiatric facilities in the northeast.
“While the current facilities at the Austin and Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital campuses have served the needs of the community well, they are in need of upgrading,” Ms Pike said.
“Before today’s official ceremony I requested a lunchtime forum with mental health consumers, carers and interested community members to discuss the needs and interests of people with mental illness in the local area.
“The forum canvassed the various concerns and needs that community members have about mental health services. These discussions are important for as the government plans future mental health services, not only in this area, but throughout the state,” Ms Pike said.
The new 30-bed unit will provide:
· New purpose-built facilities for a six bed ‘Mother and Baby Unit’ with accommodation also available for patients’ partners;
· Facilities for a nine-bed ‘Eating and Mood Disorders Unit’;
· A new and expanded 15-bed ‘Adult Acute Unit’ including four high dependency beds;
· Greatly improved privacy for all patients, with the provision of single bedrooms with ensuites and a variety of communal area; and
· Brand new furnishings and equipment and landscaped outdoor areas.
Mr Lenders said the AR/M project brings together two of Victoria’s best public hospitals on one site, providing an improved and expanded range of acute and specialist health services. “This $376 million major projects will deliver world-class facilities that will meet the needs of Melbourne community well into the future.”
2004-09-24 - Ministers deliver world class birthing facilities
The Minister for Major Projects, Peter Batchelor, today joined expectant mother Jeni Hester on a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities being built at the Mercy Hospital for Women site in Heidelberg.
Ms Hester, who is two months pregnant, is expected to be among the first women to give birth at the new hospital.
The Mercy Hospital for Women is being relocated from East Melbourne to the Austin Hospital site at Heidelberg as part of the Bracks Government’s $376 million Austin Health/Mercy Hospital for Women Relocation (AR/M) project .
Mr Batchelor said the project – the State’s largest ever public hospital redevelopment – brought together two of Victoria’s finest public hospitals on one site, providing an improved and expanded range of acute and specialist health services.
“Victoria’s major projects are providing Victorians with access to world-class transport, research, arts and health facilities,” Mr Batchelor said.
“The AR/M Project is a major component of the $10 billion worth of major projects currently being delivered across Victoria.”
The Minister for Health, Bronwyn Pike, said the new Mercy Hospital for Women would have the capacity to deliver more than 6000 babies and conduct more than 6300 surgical procedures each year.
“This important project will continue Victoria’s proud track record of providing world-class facilities within the public health care system,” Ms Pike said.
“The two new hospitals will greatly improve health services in the north-eastern suburbs and help realise the Bracks Government’s vision of providing all Victorians with high-quality, accessible health and community services.”
The Mercy Hospital for Women will continue to offer full services at its East Melbourne site right up until the move to Heidelberg in mid April 2005.
The CEO of the Mercy Hospital for Women, Stuart Rowley, said that once complete, the hospital would offer women single and two-bedded accommodation only, giving patients more privacy and a quieter environment in which to recover.
“Every room will have its own ensuite and baby bathing facilities and many of the rooms will also enjoy exceptional views of the Dandenongs,” Mr Rowley said.
The new Mercy Hospital for Women will include:
· 128 adult beds;
· 13 birthing suites and 4 Family Birth Centre suites;
· 62 neonatal intensive care unit cots;
· 20 outpatient suites;
· 10 bed acute assessment area, and;
· 4 operating theatres.
The new hospital will offer all those services currently provided in East Melbourne, but it will have an increased capacity to do so.
New Family Birth Centre suites will mean women can have their babies delivered into the care of midwives. The Centre will be one of only three such facilities in Victoria.
Families wishing to book in to the new facility at Heidelberg can do so by calling 9270 2222. For more information, people can call the Mercy Relocation Query Hotline on 1300 729 039.
2004-09-03 - Construction workers raise $100,000 for charity
Major Projects Minister Peter Batchelor today joined more than 500 construction workers at the site of the Austin Health redevelopment and Mercy Hospital for Women relocation (AR/M) project to oversee the handover of a $100,000 cheque to charity.
Construction workers from Baulderstone Hornibrook have been donating a ‘gold coin’ to park on site throughout the life of the project.
The $100,000 raised will be shared equally by the Austin Hospital, Mercy Hospital and the Heidelberg RSL.
Mr Batchelor commended the generosity of the construction workers.
“This is outstanding generosity that will have a really positive impact on the local community,” Mr Batchelor said.
The money was raised by workers from the Communications Electrical & Plumbing Union, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Electrical Trades Union and the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemens Association.
The Heidelberg RSL will use its share of the workers’ donation to restore the Heidelberg Cenotaph Memorial, on the corner of Studley Road and Burgundy Street, while the Austin Hospital will contribute its share its Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre. The Mercy Hospital will buy a paediatric x-ray machine for its neo-natal intensive care unit.
The $376 million AR/M project includes the relocation of the Mercy Hospital for Women and the redevelopment of Austin Health. The project brings together two of Victoria’s finest public hospitals on one site, providing an improved and expanded range of acute and specialist health services.
Mr Batchelor said the project was Victoria’s largest ever public hospital redevelopment and a key achievement for the major projects portfolio.
Health Minister, Bronwyn Pike said Victoria’s major projects are providing Victorians with access to world-class transport, research, arts and health facilities.
“The AR/M Project is a major component of the $10 billion worth of major projects currently being delivered across Victoria.” Ms Pike said.
The new Austin Hospital will include:
· more than 400 adult beds;
· a new emergency department;
· new intensive care and critical care units;
· two additional operating theatres; and
· an expanded day surgery and procedures department.
At the Mercy Hospital for Women there will be:
· 106 inpatient beds;
· 17 delivery rooms;
· 4 operating theatres;
· 62 neonatal intensive care unit cots;
· 20 outpatient suites; and
· specialty women’s health services.
The new Mercy Hospital for Women will have the capacity to deliver more than 6000 babies and conduct more than 6300 surgical procedures each year.
“This important project will continue Victoria’s proud track record of providing world-class facilities within the public health care system,” Ms Pike said.
“The two new hospitals will greatly improve health services in the north-eastern suburbs and help realise the Bracks Government’s vision of providing all Victorians with high-quality, accessible health and community services.
“Shared infrastructure and facilities means a wider range of improved services for patients.”
The Austin is one of Victoria’s largest tertiary hospitals, with strong academic and teaching links and a strong research agenda. Five of Australia’s leading research institutes are located at the Austin.
It is also a state-wide provider of liver transplant and spinal services and leader in the treatment, research and training of cancer care.
The first patients will be admitted to the new hospitals in mid-2005.
2004-02-27 - Austin Powers Ahead With Another Milestone
Structural work on the largest hospital redevelopment in Victoria was completed today, thanks to assistance from the Minister for Major Projects, Peter Batchelor, and the Minister for Health, Bronwyn Pike.
Mr Batchelor and Ms Pike marked the completion of work by participating in the last concrete pour for two towers which feature in the $376 million Austin Health Redevelopment and Mercy Hospital for Women Relocation Project.
“We’re powering ahead with the biggest hospital redevelopment ever undertaken in Victoria, and the first major project committed to by the Bracks Government,” Mr Batchelor said.
Ms Pike said the new Austin Hospital would include 400 acute beds, a new emergency department, two additional operating theatres, an expanded day surgery and procedures department and new and expanded intensive care and critical care units.
“The new Mercy Hospital for Women will include 128 adult beds, 62 neo-natal cots, 13 birthing suites, four family birth centre suites, 20 outpatient suites, a ten-bed acute assessment area and four operating theatres,” Ms Pike said.
“It will have the capacity to deliver more than 6,000 babies each year and conduct more than 6,300 surgical procedures annually.
“The Bracks Government’s health policies have delivered a $1.4 billion investment in capital works, the recruitment of more than 4,000 extra nurses and an extra $1 billion in hospital spending since the Government came to office,” she said.
Ms Pike said at the same time, Victoria had been able to treat more than 35,000 extra patients each year while achieving reductions in hospital bypass and 12-hour bed waits.
Mr Batchelor said with 500 workers currently on site, the entire construction of the two new towers at the Heidelberg site was on track to be completed by the end of 2004, with hospital commissioning and operations to be progressively brought online in early 2005.
“The entire project, including the refurbishment of the existing Austin Hospital building, is expected to finish on time in 2006,” Mr Batchelor said.
“To celebrate this key milestone a pine tree has been hoisted to the very top of the building,” he said.
“The tree topping ceremony is based on an ancient Scandinavian tradition where a tree was placed on top of a building to appease the tree gods and avoid the wrath that may come following the cutting down of trees to make way for the building, and provide a home for any displaced spirits.”
Mr Batchelor said more recently, it had become an international sign to celebrate building workers’ achievements and show the final height of a building nearing completion.
“Today’s hoisting of the pine tree signifies to the community that the dream of a state-of-the-art health facility to service Melbourne’s north east is becoming a reality,” Mr Batchelor said.
2002-08-21 - Austin Project Reaches Important Milestone
The Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre and Mercy Hospital redevelopment project reached another milestone today with the laying of a foundation stone by the Major Projects Minister, Peter Batchelor and the Health Minister, John Thwaites.
The foundation stone marks the movement of the project from the development to the construction stage. It also defines it as one of Victoria’s ‘major projects’, with responsibility for construction transferring to Major Projects Victoria in partnership with the Department of Human Services.
The Ministers also unveiled a three-dimensional model of the project, giving Victorians an opportunity to see what the site will look like when construction is finished at the end of 2006.
The redevelopment will provide 400 acute beds, a new emergency department, intensive and critical care units, two additional operating theatres, expanded day procedures facilities, improved psychiatric services and Veterans’ mental health facilities, enhanced Repatriation Campus, 62 neonatal intensive care cots and obstetric and gynaecological services.
Mr Batchelor said the project was part of the $8.2 billion of major projects the Bracks Government was currently delivering across Victoria.
“The redevelopment of the Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre and the relocation of the Mercy Hospital for Women is the largest health project to be undertaken in Victoria,” he said.
“At its peak the project will employ 700 people on site and the monthly cash flow will exceed $10 million.
“Work has already started on the foundations of the four-storey, 1,200 space car park and two of the three tower cranes have been assembled on the site. Already, 200,000 cubic metres of soil have been excavated to allow for the foundations to be laid.”
Mr Thwaites said the project demonstrated the Bracks Government’s commitment to keeping hospitals in public hands and investing in health infrastructure for all Victorians.
“The Bracks Government stopped the privatisation of the Austin Hospital and has got on with the job of bringing together the Austin and Mercy Hospitals on the one site to provide world class acute and specialist health facilities.
“The foundation stone will be placed within a historical time wall in the shared foyer of the two new hospital buildings, representing the unique co-location of these vital Victorian health facilities.”
2002-05-11 - Building Milestone At Austin Hospital
The backbone of Australia’s largest hospital project was cemented today with Health Minister John Thwaites overseeing the first concrete pour on the $325 million construction site at the Austin hospital.
Two hundred thousand cubic metres of earth has been removed – the equivalent of 50 Olympic swimming pools in the hole the size of the MCG – in preparation for the first concrete pads.
“This is a major construction milestone for the hospital and the Bracks Government, which came to office on a promise to stop the hospital’s privatisation and keep it in public hands,” Mr Thwaites said.
The redevelopment of the Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre and the relocation of the Mercy Hospital for Women is currently the largest hospital project in Australia.
The project includes:
· A new acute 400-bed block, emergency department, operating theatres and intensive and critical care units;
· New and expanded mental health facilities, psychiatric services and veterans’ health facilities;
· A new Mercy Hospital for Women with 106 beds, 62 neonatal cots, 17 delivery rooms and 4 operating theatres; and
· A 1200-space, four-level basement car park.
Mr Thwaites said the four-storey, 1200 space car park structure was due to be completed in early 2003.
Construction would then commence on the new A&RMC hospital and the new Mercy Hospital for Women.
“These two new towers will be complete by late 2004. The focus will then turn to refurbishment at both the Austin and repatriation campuses.
“Having put an end to the privatisation of our public hospitals, this $325 million project will bring together two of Victoria’s finest public hospitals on the one site providing world class acute and specialist facilities,” Mr Thwaites said.
The project is being managed by construction company Baulderstone Hornibrook.
Mr Thwaites said it had taken 21 trucks a total of 80 days (making seven trips a day) to remove the earth to allow the concrete pour to begin.
2001-05-18 - Work Begins On $325 Million Hospital Development
The Premier, Steve Bracks, and Health Minister, John Thwaites, today cleared a path for the largest public hospital project in the State’s history - the $325 million Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre redevelopment.
The project includes the relocation of the Mercy Hospital for Women from East Melbourne to the Heidelberg site with 128 adult beds, 60 neonatal cots and 17 delivery suites.
Seated in a 160 tonne excavator, Mr Bracks and Mr Thwaites helped bulldoze the Austin’s former nurses’ residences to make way for a new 400-bed acute centre and emergency department.
Mr Bracks said levelling the outdated buildings on the 117-year old hospital site signalled the start of major work on the project, the highlight of the $500 million health capital works program announced in the Budget.
“The Government has committed $310 million to redevelop the A&RMC and up to half the costs of a $30 million upgrade of teaching, training and research facilities,” Mr Bracks said.
“After experiencing long delays under the former Kennett Government’s plans to privatise the hospital, we’re now getting on with the job.
“This will be a landmark for achieving world-class facilities within a public health care system.”
Mr Thwaites said the project would retain the best facilities from the hospital and build modern new acute hospital services, ambulatory and adult mental health services to meet the future needs of patients.
“The redevelopment fulfils the Bracks Government’s commitment to keeping hospitals in public hands and rebuilding the health sector after years of cuts and the failed privatisation experiment,” Mr Thwaites said.
“We recognise veterans’ and war widows’ special relationship with the former Heidelberg Repatriation hospital and this will cater to their medical and health support needs, as well as those of the wider community, during the project.”
Craig Langdon, the Member for Ivanhoe and Chair of the Ministerial Community Consultative Committee, said residents of Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs would benefit from the cutting-edge technology at the redeveloped hospital.
“This major project will provide a new emergency department and obstetric, neonatal and gynaecological facilities, along with women’s health services, when the Mercy’s advanced clinical block opens,” Mr Langdon said.
The 117-year-old A&RMC contains the former Austin Hospital and the former Repatriation Hospital and Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre. The $325 million redevelopment will include:
· A new emergency department, intensive care and critical care unit;
· 400 new acute beds and 32 new mental health inpatient beds;
· 10 refurbished and two new operating theatres and a new day surgery area;
· New Mercy Hospital for Women with 128 adult beds, 60 neonatal cots, 17 delivery suites;
· A new layout to bring all patient and visitor facilities together on the third floor;
· Improved clinical areas and expanded services in radiology and a new spinal unit;
· Research precinct involving University of Melbourne and affiliated research institutes;
· 1200 new car spaces with lifts from main car park to patient services; and
· New and expanded mental health facilities.