Lesley Hewitt

It is nearly 160 years since the foundation stone for Daylesford Hospital was laid in Hospital Street in December 1861 with construction completed in May the following year. The hospital has served the community continuously since it opened and today, is highly valued by the people of Daylesford and surrounding districts. Services provided at the hospital have evolved in the light of advances in medical knowledge and have been delivered with distinction by medical, nursing and allied health staff whose names live long in memory of grateful patients.

The staff who work at Daylesford Hospital today do a wonderful job, and deserve our great appreciation for the important healthcare they deliver. The range of healthcare services provided include acute, urgent care, rehabilitation, respite, palliative and community support services. The Hospital is a regional centre for dialysis and also provides a range of surgical procedures.

However, the building, which was state of the art in 1862, is now well past its use by date. Recent audits of the hospital commend Central Highlands Rural Health (the current entity providing hospital and associated healthcare across the Hepburn Shire and Kyneton), for its faithful repairs and maintenance to the historic Daylesford Hospital, but note that the ageing infrastructure is not suitable for delivering a range of health services to the standard that is required today. It is with this in mind that the Central Highlands Rural Health Board is keen to look at the redevelopment of Daylesford Hospital.

We, the community, need Daylesford Hospital as much today as ever. We need a building that is fit for purpose now and into the future. We need a building that is appropriate for patients, their families and for the dedicated staff.

As one of the Birch ward Councillors, I am pleased to support a community led process to work towards an upgrade to Daylesford Hospital so that it can continue to meet the quality and safety standards of a modern health facility. I know from my 6 years’ service as Deputy Chair of the Hepburn Health Service Board, that unless we as a community, take a stand on this issue, the range of services delivered at Daylesford Hospital will be made more difficult to deliver, with sick and injured Daylesford residents sent for treatment in Ballarat, rather than receiving treatment locally.

I would also be interested to hear from anyone who would like to help by joining our campaign committee. Please contact me by email (lesley.hewitt55@gmail.com) or contact Kate Redwood (c.redwood@bigpond.com).

In the 1860s the Daylesford community took the lead to create Daylesford Hospital. I believe that the community again needs to put its support behind creating a new hospital.


Lesley Hewitt is a Councillor for Birch Ward.