LONG-awaited building works began at South Gippsland Hospital in Foster this week, much to the relief of staff who have been looking forward to the extensions and upgrading of facilities for quite some time.
Over the next six months, extensions will be added to the Radiology Department, the Nurses Station and the Urgent Care Department. There will also be a new ambulance entry and medication room.
Leongatha building company Considine & Johnston Pty Ltd is carrying out the work, which is expected to be completed by March 2013.
The project will see a new room within the Radiology Department to house the new CT scanner which was purchased with a very generous philanthropic grant from Perpetual Trust.
“Patients will no longer need to be transported to either Leongatha or Latrobe Regional Health to have CT scans carried out. The new CT scanner will be a wonderful diagnostic tool for our doctors,” said Peter Rushen, South Gippsland Hospital CEO.
This phase of the project is due to be completed by December. During this time, all access to the Radiology and Urgent Care departments will be via the hospital’s main door on Station Road, Foster.
The second stage of the building works, which will provide extensions to the Nurses Station and Urgent Care Department, will commence at the end of January.
The project has been on the drawing board for many years, but it is only now that the necessary funds are in hand, allowing work to begin.
The works will cost around $570,000 and are to be funded by the $280,000 received from the State Government in the first round of the Rural Capital Support Fund, along with reserves accumulated by the hospital over many years.
Plans for upgrading the Nurses Station have been in the pipeline since 2004.
“Our nursing staff are very relieved that the project is off the ground, as the Nurses Station is within the original 1940s section of the hospital and is certainly due for refurbishment,” Mr Rushen said.
The timing of the work has been taken into great consideration, to minimise noise and disruption over the busy period. During the summer holidays, it is not unusual for the number of patients seen in the Urgent Care Department to double.
“We have a wonderful hospital and it’s great to see that the government has seen fit to invest in its future,” said Mr Rushen.