The ground has been broken on the development of the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital with a visit from Premier Daniel Andrews and Minster for Health, The Hon Jill Hennessy to Western Health’s Sunshine Hospital site.
In hard-hats and ‘high-vis’ the Premier, Minister and Western Health Chief Executive A/Prof Alex Cockram turned the first sod of the development with the assistance of some young helpers.
The ground breaking marks the start of an exciting two years for Sunshine Hospital as staff and patients watch the ten storey building grow. The new addition to the site will include 20 labour delivery rooms, 39 special care nursery cots, four operating theatres, a procedure room and additional specialist clinical spaces.
With a total of 237 beds in new and refurbished areas, the project will deliver an increase of 43 maternity and paediatric beds – giving Western Health the room needed to grow and meet future demand, with the numbers of births at Sunshine Hospital expected to exceed 7,000 per year in ten years time.
The modern new hospital will mean more women in the west will be able to give birth closer to home and have better access to world-class children’s services on their doorstep. Minister Hennessy said the hospital’s naming was a fitting tribute to Victoria’s first female Premier.
“Joan Kirner is a legend in Melbourne’s western suburbs, she’s a legend not only because she was the first woman Premier of our state, she’s a legend because she believed in the power and possibility of good education and good health care for ordinary people,” said Minister Hennessy.
“Joan fought passionately to grow health services for families in Melbourne’s west – and that is exactly what this new hospital will deliver.”
“She would feel incredibly proud that we are delivering for women and children first rate clinical care. And that this hospital is going to be a shining light for first rate clinical care for women and children great job opportunities for peoples particularly from Melbourne’s west” said Minister Hennessy.
“This is a rapidly growing area and we are making sure that the west has got the best facilities to go along with the very best staff,” added the Premier.
Community consultation and input from clinical staff has been a pillar of the development process. Doctors and nurses have used prototype rooms to shape how the future hospital rooms will shape up for space and functionality.
In addition to the community advisory committee chaired by Member for Brimbank Natalie Suleyman MP, 150 consumers and community members have been involved in the consultation process to shape the project.
The Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital is scheduled to be completed by late 2018.