The Mirror News

Banksia Lodge leased to South Gippsland Hospital

• Celebrating the signing of the lease for Foster’s Banksia Lodge to the South Gippsland Hospital are, from left, Prom Country Aged Care chair Bill Bray, PCAC CEO Justin Wightman, South Gippsland Hospital CEO Chris Trotman, SGH Board chair Sue Pilkington, SGH Community Foundation chair Graeme Baxter, SGH Board director Paul Ahern, SGH Director of Nursing Paul Greenhalgh and SGH Director of Community Health Sam Park.

Parts of Banksia Lodge will be used to house future additional community health services, alongside the existing staff, student and visiting family accommodation and support group uses, following planned building refurbishment works.

SGH chief executive officer Chris Trotman said the three-year lease documents were signed at a ceremony held at the hospital on Friday morning June 14, 2019.

FOSTER’S former residential aged care facility, Banksia Lodge in Jones Street, has been leased to the South Gippsland Hospital (SGH).

The signatories were SGH Community Foundation (SGHCF) chair Graeme Baxter and Prom Country Aged Care (PCAC) chair Bill Bray, with Ms Trotman as SGH delegate.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the SGH Community Foundation to achieve this fantastic outcome for our hospital, giving us scope for expansion,” Ms Trotman said.

“We have now applied for several state and federal grants to refurbish Banksia Lodge so we may offer additional health services to those we already provide to meet the increasing needs of our local community.

“While Banksia Lodge is quite structurally sound, we want to rejuvenate the building cosmetically, including repainting and undertaking some minor repairs,” she said.

“We shall keep the community informed when we are in a position to announce these new health services.”

SGH Board chair Sue Pilkington said, “our sincere thanks to the SGH Community Foundation for their generosity in making Banksia Lodge available to us in this way.

“This is a great example of local organisations coming together to ensure that this significant community asset continues to serve the community,” she said.

“We look forward to Banksia Lodge being the future home of an increased range of health services that meet our local needs.”

The 30-room Banksia Lodge was originally built in the 1980s by PCAC, which was known at the time as the Corner Inlet Community Care Association, on land owned by SGH under a lease arrangement. Each of the rooms has its own en suite bathroom.

PCAC built a new facility, Prom Country House, on an adjacent property fronting on to O’Connell Road in 2013, which took over Banksia Lodge’s role of accommodating those mature residents requiring more support than available in their own homes.

Since then, Banksia Lodge has been in some use, as accommodation for medical and nursing students on local placement, for hospital staff on late shifts and for ancillary medical services staff. The Social Support Group also meets there each week.

Those relatives of Prom Country House residents who come from far away to visit their family member may arrange to stay overnight at Banksia Lodge, too.

Other rooms have been used as offices, as well as for storage up until recently, including housing donated items awaiting sorting before being stocked and offered for sale in one of the two opportunity shop outlets in Foster.

“With thanks to the SGH Community Foundation, Banksia Lodge will now be returned to the hospital,” Ms Trotman said.

“And, in turn, the hospital will lease back the Banksia Lodge premises from the Foundation.”

Community Foundation chair Mr Baxter said, “the Foundation is extremely pleased to be involved with the transition of Banksia Lodge back to South Gippsland Hospital.

“This will enable our health precinct to continue to deliver the best services to our community.

“The Foundation would like to thank the very generous bequests made by members of the Corner Inlet district community to enable this to happen,” he said. 

“The Foundation welcomes bequests so that we can continue to help have a healthier community.”

PCAC CEO Justin Wightman said, “Banksia Lodge has provided a valuable aged care asset to the community for a long period of time now.

“To enable us to provide contemporary aged care services into the future and to better use our assets, the PCAC Board determined that Banksia Lodge would be better placed to provide other health services to the community.” He said.

“We are delighted to see the facility transferred to SGH.”

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