By Matt Male

WONTHAGGI Hospital’s new emergency department will have the capacity to treat an extra 26,000 patients a year.

The major expansion, as part of the $115m upgrade of the hospital, will deliver 18 additional emergency department treatment spaces – not to mention brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities.

The project is on track to be completed in 2023 and will create 345 jobs during peak construction.

It will deliver a “world-class hospital”, Minister for Health Martin Foley said last week after visiting the construction site.

The hospital’s surgery capacity is also being doubled thanks to three new theatres and a procedure room while 32 inpatient beds and four short stay beds will be modernised.

This additional capacity will reduce the need for locals to travel for care and will help meet future demand in the Bass Coast Shire.

“We’re ensuring Wonthaggi Hospital has the latest, cutting edge infrastructure that will allow hard-working hospital staff to treat more patients sooner.”

Minister Foley said the area was experiencing “enormous growth”, and as the population rises, so does the demand.

The Minister praised Bass MP Jordan Crugnale, who also visited the site last week, as a strong advocate for the local community.

Ms Crugnale said the project would ensure Wonthaggi Hospital could meet growing demand.

“Every Victorian deserves quality care, close to home. A bigger, better Wonthaggi Hospital will deliver just that for our local community,” Ms Crugnale said.