Lesley Hewitt

The Daylesford Hospital Masterplan is almost finalised.

Those of you who have followed this story closely will recall that Central Highlands Rural Health were advised that the much-needed upgrade to the Daylesford Hospital could not even be considered unless there was a Masterplan. No money was available within the constraints of a limited budget for masterplan development, so the money had to be found.  A campaign was kicked off by the Daylesford Community Bank, and then many generous and concerned residents of Daylesford and district reached deep into their pockets to contribute to a campaign to fund the Masterplan.

The campaign was driven by passionate locals who formed the Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Community Campaign Committee.

The target of $100,000 was reached in less than two months, and by November 2021 an architecture firm specializing in hospital design, Blight Blight and Blight had been appointed to prepare the Daylesford Hospital Masterplan. Following consultation with a range of stakeholders, including as many staff as possible, and as wide a range of community members as could be managed, the design team, led by Richard Blight, worked tirelessly to prepare a draft by mid February.  This first draft was presented to the Central Highlands Rural Health Board who were impressed with the way that Richard Blight had evidently listened to all stakeholders, and the extent of the work that had been undertaken in such a short period of time.

Meanwhile, CEO Maree Cuddihy and Richard Blight were meeting with senior officers in the Department of Health about ensuring that the designs met the rigorous standards required of health services. The level of complexity in designing health services that are able to deliver state of the art interventions, and also be safe and positive places for staff and patients, is no small challenge. Furthermore, the competition for attention from other hospitals across the State is fierce. So far we understand the Daylesford Hospital Masterplan has received a very positive reception in the Department of Health.

Our local state member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas MLA, was in Daylesford recently and was able to find time to be briefed on the draft Masterplan. Her recent post on Facebook indicates her excitement that at last it may be possible to plan the upgrade of the Daylesford Hospital in a staged process. Her ongoing support is essential in gaining a commitment from state government to fund the necessary works.

The draft Masterplan is now a highly detailed document of some 200 pages, including designs for community health and hospital buildings and all the technical service drawings that are required. It is a document that respects the past, and recognizes the importance of amenity and access for all the community. It is understood that negotiations with the Department of Health are down to fine-tuning. Once the draft Masterplan has been signed off by the Department and approved by Central Highlands Rural Health Board, it will be released for public exhibition. When will this be?  Hopefully before the 160th anniversary of the Daylesford Hospital which is on 22 May 2022.

We very greatly appreciate the contribution that the community has already made and hope that all locals will actively support and join our efforts to lobby politicians to deliver the health care infrastructure that this community needs.

 Cr  Lesley Hewitt is the Chair of the Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Community Campaign Committee.