PREMIER Daniel Andrews, Health Minister, Jill Hennessy and local MP, Marsha Thomson have visited Footscray Hospital to celebrate the State Government’s announcement this week that it will rebuild the hospital.
The trio were greeted by Western Health’s Acting Chief Executive Russell Harrison and Western Health Board Director, Kelvyn Lavelle – as well as dozens of excited staff, patients and volunteers.
The visit came the morning after the Andrews Government formally announced its plans – during the State Budget – to build a new hospital in Footscray.
After visiting patients on general surgical ward 3 East, including 76-year-old Ruth Van Der Werff Sarkany, Mr Andrews personally thanked staff and volunteers in the foyer for their hard work and commitment to Footscray Hospital.
“This building is showing its age and it needs to be fit for purpose for a modern health system,” the Premier said. “The Minister made sure that I understood that very clearly and that’s why the Budget provides an initial $50 million to get the planning right, do that intensive work over the next twelve months.
“We’ve got to get the siting right. The challenge of course is to build the new hospital and run the existing one – that’s not simple and easy, but this is the first really big step towards a new Footscray Hospital for you and the patients that I know you are so committed to.”
Western Health Board Chair, the Hon Bronwyn Pike said the announcement marked “an extraordinary day for Footscray and indeed everyone living in Melbourne’s western suburbs”.
“Rebuilding Footscray Hospital has long been a top priority for our community because Melbourne’s west is an area of great need,” Ms Pike said.
“Footscray Hospital has been at the heart of our community for 60 years, and so we are thrilled that it will soon become the world-class modern facility that our patients deserve.“Our patients already have access to an exceptionally talented and hard-working team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. The new hospital will match that top-quality care for patients with the facilities best-suited to providing that care.”
As part of the State Government’s commitment to building a new Footscray Hospital, Western Health will receive $50 million from the 2017/18 Budget to develop a business case and commence design work for the construction of the new hospital. This includes identifying options for purchase of a suitable site nearby, if required.