A community campaign committee to support the upgrade of the Daylesford Hospital was established at a Zoom meeting chaired by Cr Lesley Hewitt last Wednesday night.

At the meeting CEO of Central Highlands Rural Health, Maree Cuddihy, praised the work of staff at Daylesford Hospital in providing safe and appropriate care, but deplored the 160 year old building and infrastructure.

In response to questions raised at the meeting, Maree said that the building problems were so extensive that a masterplan was required to sort out which building problems could be fixed and in what order. She said that the masterplan is unfunded but that the money to pay for it would be found somehow.

Danny Moynihan, who led a past fundraising campaign for the hospital, was concerned that the community have a clear picture of the needs and the tangible benefits that donating would achieve. This was agreed by other participants at the meeting.

Kate Redwood told the meeting that a longstanding priority is the need for new operating theatres and sterilizing equipment (autoclave) which can’t be fitted into the available space. New state-wide standards for sterilizing equipment come into effect next year. Unless this deficiency is addressed all surgery at Daylesford will cease.

Other high priority needs were identified in a recent review of the hospital building. There is a need for a single large space providing chair bays for day medical patients including renal dialysis and chemotherapy patients. Larger rooms for inpatients are required as all the rooms are under the required size. In particular some bigger rooms are required for inpatients to provide space for special equipment such as for bariatric needs. The review also noted that the building fabric is outdated and does not present as safe, comfortable or contemporary by today’s expectations.

Cr Hewitt noted that the pattern in small rural hospitals was that once a service closed it was not ever reopened.

The first meeting of the Campaign Committee will be held on Thursday 12 August at 3.30 pm in the Daylesford Hospital board room. All welcome. For further information contact:
Lesley Hewitt on lesley.hewitt55@gmail.com or Kate Redwood on c.redwood@bigpond.com.


The more things change….

Appeals for community support for the Daylesford Hospital are not new. The community has supported the Hospital since its inception in 1860. The image on the left is a letter to the Ballarat Star published in 1919 soliciting donations for upgrades to the hospital in anticipation of returning World War 1 veterans. It reads as follows:


To the Editor of “The Star.” Sir, —The committee of the Daylesford District Hospital and Benevolent Asylum, in view of the early anticipation of the signing of peace, and the victory gained by the Allies, as a result of their fight “for freedom after more than four years of disastrous warfare, desire the privilege of space in your widely-read columns to make special appeal to all in a position to contribute towards a peace offering for the hospital, as a most fitting and laudable means of celebrating the much desired victory against would-be world oppressors. The institution seriously needs help to effect most necessary repairs and renovations to the hospital buildings and replenishment of furnishings and linen. This expenditure, though urgently required, the committee are not in a position to accomplish out of ordinary revenue. Not wishing to entail the institution with an overdraft, the committee thus make an earnest appeal to all who have the welfare of this necessary and deserving institution at heart, and whose sympathies go to benefit and care for the sick and destitute in their time of need, to respond as liberally as possible so that the committee may be placed in a position to carry out andeffect the institution’s urgent requirement in the direction indicated. The committee desire to gratefully acknowledge with thanks the first peace donation of £100 from the Hon. W. Angliss, M.L.C. Trusting that this appeal will be acceded to by others charitably disposed, and thanking some in anticipation (whether their contributions be large, or small). —Yours, etc., F. BREWER, President. W. D. MITCHELL, Treasurer. F. W. HORSNELL, Secretary.

Carolyn Peel posted in the Daylesford Grapevine a similar letter to the Daylesford Advocate published in 1920 appealing for donations for a new X-ray plant.

Related Stories:

Daylesford Hospital in Need of More than TLC

160 Years of Building the Daylesford Hospital