Up to 20,000 patients a year are expected to be treated in Ballarat Base Hospital's new emergency ambulatory care as part of a move to reduce waiting times in the emergency department.
The new 10-bed centre, which has been operating adjacent to the ED since July, treats patients with less severe injuries and illness who will not need hospital admission.
Premier Daniel Andrews visited Ballarat Base Hospital on Friday to officially open the $5 million unit designed to improve the operation of the ED until the hospital's new emergency department, part of the $595 million hospital redevelopment, is operational in 2027.
"This is a real opportunity to bring care to those in need," said Grampians Health chief executive Dale Fraser.
"Our ED was built more than 15 years ago and has been over-used for a long time. 2027 is a long way away and this ambulatory ED fills the gap in the meantime."
The new unit also includes consultation room, treatment room, medication room, staff station, two patient ensuites, modern offices and staff amenities.
"Staff are really keen to work there because it's a new space, creating the opportunity for them to provide the clinical care they desperately want to provide. Feedback from patients and staff alike has been exceptional," Mr Fraser said.
"The new space will be fully monitored which will allow the hospital to take more urgent patients. This also means that a substantial portion of patients who previously required a period of treatment can now benefit from expedited attention in the EAC."
During his visit to Ballarat, Mr Andrews confirmed a soon-to-be-released housing statement would be "one of the biggest shakeups in one of the most important areas of policy in decades" with impact across regional and metropolitan Victoria.
And works are underway to identify where new public housing will be built as legacy from the now-cancelled Commonwealth Games.
"We are doing the hard work to work out where we can get homes built fastest and where the greatest need is," he said. "Ballarat will share in that, so too will many smaller communities who would not have received a housing dividend, extra housing as part of the Commonwealth Games.
"Arguably we will be able to deliver these projects sooner as we won't have to wait to deliver them as legacy after the games."
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