St John of God Hospital is 'full to overflowing', set to expand

ST John of God Hospital is “full to overflowing”, according to its chief executive officer Michael Krieg.

Even “shell” wards constructed for future use when the new hospital was built in 2009 have been commissioned due to increasing demand.

Mr Krieg said a 15-year master-plan was currently being put in place to improve the hospital’s capacity, including reclaiming its boiler house from the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute (FECRI).

“The next step is getting serious about what we need to do first around the entire site,” Mr Krieg said.

“We need more space for patient care.”

Mr Krieg said FECRI had been given notice it would need to move sometime after next July to allow for increased energy production onsite.

He said it would cost too much to move the boiler house but they had tried to give FECRI as much notice as they could.

“An ageing population and population growth has generally created more demand on health services.

“We have a 15-year plan of construction from here on in.”

Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital is also increasing its capacity by 60 new beds, with future plans for another 96.

BHS chief executive officer Andrew Rowe said, in the 2012-13 financial year, a total of 32,355 inpatients were admitted, 11,405 operations done and 53,308 people treated in the emergency department.

He said new BHS services, including the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre and the cardiovascular centre, expansion of diabetes, obstetrics and gynaecology and neurology services, an ageing population and socio-economic issues, such as increased smoking and alcohol abuse, had increased demand.

“BHS has been proactive in endeavouring to meet this demand through recruitment of additional specialists, recruitment of additional nurses, allied health and other personnel, expansion of Hospital in the Home, expansion of operating theatre sessions and expansion of bed numbers,” Mr Rowe said.

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