Community hospitals will be built in Craigieburn and the City of Whittlesea if Labor is re-elected – but not for another four years.
Premier Daniel Andrews last week announced that Labor will spend $675 million to build and upgrade community hospitals in growing suburbs and regional towns.
The Craigieburn Health Service will be upgraded to a community hospital, providing day surgery, paediatric care, public dental services, women’s health, day chemotherapy, rehabilitation support, family violence and crisis support services, alcohol and drug services, and pharmacy services.
A location is yet to be chosen for the Whittlesea community hospital, however Star Weekly understands the hospital will be built in the north of the municipality in the Yan Yean electorate.
The hospital will offer pathology, imaging, pharmacy services, dental services, mental health treatment and community-based palliative care.
Planning and design work for both hospitals will begin next year, but construction won’t begin until 2022.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy, who visited DPV Health in the Whittlesea township last week to discuss the announcement with chief executive Neil Cowen and Yan Yean MP Danielle Green, said the community hospitals would reduce the demand on the Northern Hospital’s emergency department.
She said the hospitals would improve access to high quality health care in growing suburbs where “communities are crying out for health services”.
“Our ambition is that community hospitals will sit in that gap between access to GPs and access to metropolitan acute health services,” she said.
“Community hospitals won’t have things like intensive care units and high acuity care, but they will have after-hours urgent care.
“It will be a collection of services from primary health care, specialists, but also those services we know people are travelling long distances for. This is not going to be a small health offering.”
Ms Green said she hoped the Whittlesea community hospital would lead to more community-based care for older residents, allowing them to stay in their own homes for longer, and help to address Whittlesea’s high rate of heart disease.