LABOR candidate for Bass, Jordan Crugnale, is raising the profile of the Wonthaggi Hospital and its need for an upgrade within State Government departments.
The masterplan for the hospital has been completed and the detailed costings will be finalised in the coming weeks.
Wonthaggi is the service centre of the area, and is the main employment centre particularly in health, education, public service and construction sectors.
The priority at the hospital is to create a purpose-built Emergency Department (ED), which will house medical imaging, pharmacy and pathology services.
The ED would have a dedicated ambulance area, easy ground floor access for patients, short stay unit, mental health and paediatric facilities.
As part of stage one of the plan, this upgrade – in conjunction with redeveloping the theatre complex – means there will be more theatres, a day surgery suite and the development of a contemporary pre-admin area.
The cost of Stage 1 is estimated to be around $100 million.
The ED is bursting at its seams during peak periods. Over Easter, there were 84 presentations to ED – when there are normally 40.
The upgrades to the Wonthaggi Hospital will also see specialist services in general medicine, surgery, cardiology, geriatrics, orthopaedics and gastroenterology.
Ms Crugnale said the “ink is on the paper”, with strategic justification and community support.
“All staff at Bass Coast Health do an exceptional job and you want their expertise and quality care they provide to be matched by the facilities they’re working in,” she said.
“When I was the Mayor, I convened a roundtable with the Premier, Daniel Andrews, and Bass Coast Health leadership so he could hear first-hand exactly what our community’s health needs are.”
Ms Crugnale said since being pre-selected as Labor’s candidate for the seat of Bass, she’s had regular meetings with the CEO of Bass Coast Health, Jan Child.
“What the Premier heard then, and what I’m hearing loudly now, is that we need a sub-regional facility – which translates to more beds, new theatres, a better emergency department four times the size of the one we have now, a dedicated ambulance area, and importantly mental health and paediatric facilities as well.
“I was proud to welcome Premier Daniel Andrews to Wonthaggi last month, where he announced that Wonthaggi Hospital would receive $1.9 million in funding for critical upgrades.
“This brings the total investment by the Andrews Labor Government to almost $5 million for upgrades to infrastructure and medical equipment.
“Whilst these two announcements are important, there’s more to be done.
“It is in stark contrast to the Turnbull Government in Canberra, who have cut $2.1 billion out of Victoria’s health system.
“That’s massive and the impact of those cuts for us locally is $8.6 million isn’t coming into Bass Coast Health.”
Ms Crugnale said she’s had discussions with Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Jill Hennessy to let them know the importance of a Wonthaggi Hospital upgrade to the community.
“A redeveloped Wonthaggi Hospital won’t just mean bricks and mortar. It’ll mean we finally have the health care we need – and the health care we deserve.
“It’ll mean we no longer need to travel for hours to get the more complicated care that we sometimes require. And it’ll mean that for the first time in a very long time, Wonthaggi Hospital will be sub-regional – not sub-standard.”
On April 23, a spokesman for Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt sent through these comments.
“Daniel Andrews disappointed the Wonthaggi community last month by making the trip down from Spring Street, then failing to announce sub-regional status for Wonthaggi Hospital,” Mr Hunt said.
“Mr Andrews continues to turn his back on more than $7 billion in additional funding for Victorian hospitals, at same time making false claims about hospital funding.
“Under the new deal offered by the Turnbull Government, Victorian hospital funding would increase from $24 billion in the five years to 2019-20, to more than $31 billion in the five years to 2024-25.
“This is a funding increase of nearly 30 per cent and takes into account Victoria’s strong population growth.
“Daniel Andrews must explain why Commonwealth funding for Wonthaggi Hospital increased by 67.1%, while in comparison funding growth from his government increased by only 47%.”