ALMOST four years in the making, Ballarat Community Health’s (BCH) new Lucas centre has been officially opened.
In operation for several weeks now, the state-of-the-art hub provides GP services, counselling, sexual health services, podiatry and general wellbeing support.
Ballarat MP Catherine King, who oversaw the project while in government, said it was a great facility for Lucas and Ballarat. “Community health hubs like this are needed to bring staff together, and really allow people to collaborate on things like prevention programs,” Ms King said at the opening on Wednesday.
BCH chair Sarah Sainsbury said the new building, which spreads out from a light-filled central atrium, would also be more welcoming for patients and clients.
“This centre will help give people greater access to healthcare, because it allows people who might be embarrassed or unwilling to come into to a traditional community health centre to come in anonymously,” she said.
BCH applied for the funding in November 2010, and was allocated $11.8 million in 2011. It contributed $1.8 million to buy the land in the new Lucas housing development, and contracted local company Nicholson to construct the building.
While the state government did not provide any funding for the Lucas centre, Health Minister David Davis announced $1 million for the refurbishment of BCH’s Sebastopol centre on Wednesday, which he said would help expand healthcare coverage in the area.
“The centre needs a significant upgrade,” he said.
“The rural capital support fund is designed to provide support on the middle level. So not a whole rebuild, or a brand new hospital, but it’s designed to provide targeted support that will make a significant difference.”