Ballan hospital upgrade quest

IN DISCUSSION: Ballan District Health Care CEO Wayne Weaire met with government ministers last week to discuss a $20 million upgrade to the Ballan Hospital. File image.

IN DISCUSSION: Ballan District Health Care CEO Wayne Weaire met with government ministers last week to discuss a $20 million upgrade to the Ballan Hospital. File image.

An expansion of Ballan District Health Care could see more than 70 jobs created if funding for the works can be met.

Ballan District Health Care CEO Wayne Weaire took the plans for the Ballan Hospital upgrade, which would see an additional 51 beds for the aged care facility, construction of a day procedure unit with two theatres and doubling the capacity of the onsite child care centre, to Canberra’s Parliament House last week.

This visit was part of a pursuit to persuade both federal and state government to invest $20 million into the project.

Mr Weaire said the completed projects would deliver an additional 77 local jobs and inject $10.65 million into the regional economy each year.

“These three projects will make Ballan Hospital’s model of integrated services, incorporating aged and child care onsite, one of the few community funded hospitals financially sustainable in Australia,” he said.

“This innovative model has the potential to be a game changer and to disrupt the way that rural health care is funded and provided in the future.

“The projects are also essential to enable Ballan Hospital to manage the increasing demand for health and care services in the Moorabool region.”

Moorabool deputy mayor Paul Tatchell accompanied Mr Weaire to Canberra last week to speak with ministers about the consequences if the super clinic upgrades were not funded.

With an $8 million loss to the region’s economic and employment opportunities after the permanent closure of the Fiskville CFA Training Centre, Cr Tatchell said it was important the region’s next biggest employer was not overlooked.

“The investment into Ballan District Health Care will help restore economic prosperity to our community and will support a model hospital for rural health provision,” he said.

Cr Tatchell said the area had long been overlooked for funding with no funds allocated to the building since plans were first unveiled in December last year. 

“It’s frustrating because they are real needs,” he said.

“The sad reality is country people cannot live off six per cent of the (infrastructure) budget.”

With an increasing ageing demographic, he also said facilities at BDHC were under enormous pressure.

“Not having another (clinic) close by makes it increasingly difficult.”