PHILLIP Island is inching ever closer to a new health and medical hub in Cowes.
The Phillip Island Health and Medical Hub will be run by Bass Coast Health to deliver primary and community health services and accommodate visiting medical specialists.
The document tender process is due to be complete in September this year, with the ground slab for the health hub to be laid down sometime in March 2017.
The new hub, to be located on Church Street in Cowes, is set to deliver a plethora of new services to the island, cutting travel time for families and elderly members of the community.
Services based at the hub will include hospital-in-home programs, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, foot care, speech pathology, dietetics, stomal therapy, breast care, diabetes education, asthma education, continence advisor, wound care, health promotion, pharmacotherapy nursing, counselling, emergency relief programs, family services, group exercise programs, planned activity groups, medical specialist consulting and treatment rooms and an ambulance bay.
Interim CEO for Bass Coast Health Jan Child said that thus far the project is running on time and on budget.
“We’re pretty excited. We’re aiming for an open date of February 2018, with all services available,” Jan said.
“The hub is going to be a state of the art building. It’s a really contemporary design, but it’s also going to be flexible so we can continue to shape the services it provides based on the needs of the community.”
In 2012, Bass Coast Community Health Service successfully submitted an application through the Rural Capital Support Fund to develop a Community Health Centre at Cowes on Phillip Island.
The then State Minister for Health, the Hon David Davis, then announced that the $1.1m held in trust by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) from the Warley Hospital closure would be added to this to bring the total to $3.3m.
Following this, Flinders MP Greg Hunt announced that an additional $2.5m in available Commonwealth funding would be used to expand the project into a combined community health and medical hub by providing for additional specialist medical consulting suites and an ambulance bay for emergency transfers, if needed.
In addition to this $5.8m funding, the Bass Coast Shire Council agreed in May 2015 to provide the land for this development adjacent to its planned Cowes Cultural Precinct under a peppercorn lease arrangement.
Bass Coast Health, who will run the new health hub, will work on transferring current health services on the island from its current site in Warley Avenue to the health hub upon its completion in December 2017.
The larger size of the Health Hub will mean that additional services will be also offered and added to over time, as funding or services become available.
Phillip Island residents will benefit from additional primary care services and, in particular, from having medical specialists available locally, instead of having to travel to Melbourne or the Latrobe Valley for appointments.
“Most importantly, what we will aim to do is make sure that this hub provides access to health services locally,” Ms Child said.
“I hear all the time that people need to travel off the island in order to get the care that they need. We are aiming to make sure the hub provides access to these medical specialists.
“A good example of this is the high incidence of diabetes within the island community, but the lack of an endocrinologist (diabetes specialist).
“Through the clinical services planning process, it’s been made clear what the island’s health care needs are so we will make sure that the hub is able to house those speciality services so people can access them locally.”