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 Mr Bracks said levelling the outdated buildings on the 117-year old hospital site signalled the start of major work on the project, the highlight of the $500 million health capital works program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.