Gippsland Southern Health Service CEO Gary Templeton takes his counterpart from Latrobe Regional Hospital, Peter Craighead, on a tour of the Leongatha Hospital work site last week. m124812

IF THERE’S ever been better news for the community from their local hospital than what will be delivered at the annual general meeting of the Gippsland Southern Health Service in Leongatha later this week, you’d need to look a long way back into history to find it. The health service, which operates the Leongatha and Korumburra hospitals, Alchera House and Hillside Lodge in Korumburra and Koorooman House in Leongatha, as well as four community health centres at Tarwin Lower, Mirboo North, Loch and Korumburra, is set to post an operating profit for the year of $1.7 million. Not only that, but the health service is also well on the way to completing a $32.5 million redevelopment of the hospital site at Leongatha; a project that’s on time and on budget for a changeover from the old hospital in December 2013. While attention will be focused on the hospital’s performance in the past financial year and also on the progress at the Leongatha construction site at Thursday afternoon’s meeting, homage will also be paid to the rich history laid down by the service over the years. “As part of the 80th birthday for the present Korumburra Hospital, opened in Bridge Street in February 1932, we decided to compile a history of the hospital and found it to be a very interesting story,” health service CEO Gary Templeton said. “There appeared to have been two locations for a hospital in Korumburra, going back to 1890 but it wasn’t until 1931 that they bought the land in Bridge Street. “At the time the community raised over 2782 pound towards the project which would be equivalent to more than $200,000 in today’s money which demonstrates the community commitment to the project. “They bought the land in 1931 and opened the hospital in February 1932 which was quite a feat.” The history is being compiled by hospital admin officer Jodie Duckworth, who will provide some excerpts for Thursday’s meeting. Anyone with any historic photos relating to the Korumburra hospital is invited to submit them for inclusion in the history.

New hospital

Those who attend the AGM this Thursday, November 29 at 4pm in the Uniting Church Hall in Leongatha will hear a progress report on the works at Leongatha which are at an advanced stage. “All of the framing work is now complete and they are starting to put in the windows and the cladding,” Mr Templeton said. At a total area of 7000m2, the footprint of the new hospital isn’t much bigger than the sum of all the previous buildings but it will be a much more efficient use of space. Mr Templeton said that no additional services, apart from provision for a dialysis service, were being contemplated in the new hospital. It was designed mainly to deliver present services but it would include space to expand services as required. A sticking point with the new project, the helipad site, was close to a resolution and Mr Templeton said he expected that to be also ready when the hospital was opened. “Although we expect to be in a position to move in by the end of 2013, there’ll still be a lot left to do including the demolition of the existing hospital and the reinstatement of the grounds; quite a big project in itself,” he said. So, in between the hospital’s good financial position, the development of a new hospital at Leongatha and continuing celebrations around Korumburra’s 80th birthday… it’s all good news, it seems, from the Gippsland Southern Health Service.