Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath has urged the Andrews Government to release plans for West Gippsland Hospital saying the Government must act to help the hospital address the increase in demand for health services in the region.
Visiting the hospital today with Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Rural and Regional Health Margaret Fitzherbert, Ms Bath said there was overwhelming community support for a new hospital on a greenfields site between Warragul and Drouin.
“Due partly to its excellent reputation and also to increasing population in the Baw Baw Shire, the demands being placed on the hospital are increasing exponentially,” Ms Bath told the parliament.
Ms Bath has called on the Minister for Health to reveal what plans the government has in place to ensure West Gippsland Hospital is equipped to deal with current, medium and long-term demand.
She said quality services along with growth in population had resulted in more patients through the doors at West Gippsland Hospital.
“West Gippsland Healthcare Group continues to have the highest number of births in the Gippsland region, with 974 babies delivered in the 2014–15 financial year, and it is predicted that for this financial year there will be something in the vicinity of over 1000 births,” Ms Bath told the parliament.
“Data shows that the number of elective surgery patients on the waiting list increased by 17 per cent between December 2014 to December 2015.”
Ms Bath said Baw Baw Shire’s population was just over 45,000 and predicted to grow to 75,000 by 2031.
“I understand that meeting the increased demand within ageing infrastructure is a constant challenge for the staff of the hospital and it is important we properly plan for the future,” she said.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Rural and Regional Health Margaret Fitzherbert said she hoped the forthcoming State Budget would include funds towards a staged redevelopment of the hospital.
“West Gippsland Healthcare owns a 58-acre parcel of land ideally located between Warragul and Drouin that has been identified as a site for a potential new hospital to meet the health needs of West Gippsland into the future,” Ms Fitzherbert said.
“I understand that securing a commitment to the new site is the major strategic plan of the hospital’s board and I hope the Andrews Government can assist with funding to ensure this project happens sooner rather than later,” Ms Fitzherbert said.