Funds needed to finish GV Health redevelopment

By Thomas Moir

The community and stakeholders are calling for the second stage of the Goulburn Valley Health redevelopment to be funded, on the back of new analysis into what it might cost for it to happen.

A Committee for Greater Shepparton-commissioned report has delivered a ballpark dollar figure for the GV Health upgrade, stage two — between $272million and $374million.

The estimates include new mental health and cancer facilities, according to the independent assessment.

The work was broadly welcomed by stakeholders yesterday, as was the priority need for the second stage to become a reality.

About $170million in Victorian Government funding was announced in 2016 for stage one.

‘‘GV Health’s buildings are at the end of their life cycle,’’ a committee statement accompanying the release of the report read.

‘‘As positive as the stage one funding has been, a commitment to stage two is now critical to complete the redevelopment.’’

The findings include a comparative analysis of regional hospital asset value, which reported Greater Shepparton had one of the oldest hospitals in the state.

‘‘It is time for a new one,’’ the statement read.

‘‘We can’t wait around with half a hospital. It doesn’t serve the people and it will cost taxpayers more in the long run.’’

In a statement, GV Health interim chief executive Matt Sharp said the hospital was working with relevant Victorian Government departments to complete the Shepparton hospital campus masterplan, which included stage two of the redevelopment.

‘‘This is expected to be concluded in coming months,’’ he said.

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said it was important to keep the momentum going and, with the first stage expected to be completed in the next few years, she said it would be great to be in a position to just roll on with the second stage.

‘‘We’re going to have half a lovely new-built hospital and the other half looking old and tired if we don’t just keep on the roll,’’ she said.

‘‘To have a piece of work done that outlines the various departments, the works that need to be done, and put a figure on them that’s hopefully within the ballpark is a really important piece of work.’’

Ms Sheed identified the need for a cancer centre as a priority with ‘‘really strong support behind it to be implemented really early on if this is to be staged in some way’’.

C4GS chief Sam Birrell hoped the report might prompt the hospital’s needs to become a ‘‘focus of discussions’’ for the government, Opposition and candidates for next month’s election.

‘‘We think it’s just so important for the region,’’ he said.

‘‘It needs some attention...stage one is great, but it only gives us half a hospital.’’

Labor candidate for Shepparton Bill Heath said the party acknowledged the need for more investment to further increase hospital capacity, to increase the range of specialist services available, such as for cancer and mental health patients, and for an expanded aged care facility.

Liberal candidate for Shepparton Cheryl Hammer said the redevelopment’s second stage was a priority.

Nationals candidate for Shepparton Peter Schwarz welcomed the report, and said he would be working towards a positive outcome on the second stage.