By Danielle Kutchel
The people of Cranbourne are a step closer to receiving hospital care close to home, with the identification of a preferred site for the Cranbourne Community Hospital.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Steve McGhie, was joined by Cranbourne MP Pauline Richards and Bass MP Jordan Crugnale on Tuesday 9 February to announce that a parcel of land at 65 Berwick-Cranbourne Road, Cranbourne East, had been selected as the preferred site.
The preferred site is within the so-called Casey Complex and takes in the Balla Balla Community Centre.
Now that the preferred site has been chosen, the City of Casey will engage in the formal process to “dispose” of the land so that the hospital can be built.
According to the City of Casey, this means that the Balla Balla Community Centre will be displaced within ten years.
Conversations with the community centre about its future are ongoing, and community submissions on the sale of the site will soon be open.
Ms Richards said the land in the Casey Complex had been chosen because it “fits the criteria”.
She said Cranbourne was “fortunate” to be getting a community hospital in the centre of the growing community.
A community consultative committee has lobbied for the hospital for several years and members said they were pleased that the project would soon begin.
Committee member Judy Davis said the new hospital would give people hope.
“This is going to help. We’re not a little hick town anymore – we’ve got such a growing population,” she said.
Liz Barton, a retired nurse and fellow community consultant on the committee, agreed.
With a background in building design, she hopes to be able to have input over the design of the hospital to ensure that it is “fit for purpose” – from things like storage for infectious linen, to the size of lifts and the provision of safe, weatherproof entry points for the elderly.
Ms Barton said she has watched Cranbourne change over 50 years from a small country town to a major growth corridor with metropolitan needs and requirements.
“This is a huge bonus as far as the community goes,” she said of the hospital.
The new Cranbourne Community Hospital will provide integrated community health services, specialist appointments, paediatric care, mental health services, dental services, diagnostic pathology and imaging, dialysis, after-hours urgent care, day surgery and rehabilitation services.
It will service the growth corridor around Cranbourne and Clyde whilst complementing existing hospital services in the region, and will be managed by Monash Health.
The services provided at the new site will be an expansion of those currently provided by Monash Health at the Cranbourne Integrated Care Centre and will take pressure off nearby major hospitals – enabling them to focus on critical care and acute health issues, emergency care and more complex surgeries and procedures.
It’s expected that construction will begin later this year, with the hospital to open in 2024.
Cranbourne Community Hospital is one of ten new community hospitals being built by the state government, at a cost of $66 million.