Local member and Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas turned the first sod to mark the start of the construction of Daylesford Health’s new operating theatre last week.

The new state-of-the-art $6.4M operating theatre will be built by Ballarat company SJ Weir and is expected to open in March next year. This
latest funding builds on more than $800,000 already invested in Daylesford Hospital through the Engineering Infrastructure Replacement Program for new heating hot water boilers and reverse osmosis water plant. A further $545,000 from the program was used to upgrade power to the hospital site.

When the new operating theatre opens it will become a surgical hub for ophthalmology and other procedures targeted at reducing the waitlist for the Grampians region.

“The Victorian Government is ensuring people in the Central Highlands have access to the best possible healthcare services close to home,” said Mary-Anne Thomas. “This multi million dollar operating suite redevelopment will support Daylesford Hospital get more people off waiting lists and into surgery sooner.”

There will likely be a staggered opening of operating sessions starting three days a week, expanding to five days within the first six months, employing about 20 staff.

Funded through the fifth round of the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund (RHIF), the project will upgrade Daylesford’s operating theatre, patient waiting area, sterile stocks storage area, and recovery and admission areas.

The project will also replace ageing patient monitoring medical equipment and equipment in the Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD) and refurbish the CSSD processing area.

CHRH Board Chair Phillip Thomson said the operating theatre rebuild was an essential stage of the redevelopment masterplan for Daylesford Health and one that will be most welcomed by the community of Daylesford and across the region and ensure more locals could get the surgery they needed closer to home.

“This sod-turning ceremony marks the beginning of construction and brings to life the vision of architect Richard Blight for a contemporary addition that respects the original buildings and hints at the potential future to come,” he said.

Builders will shortly be onsite six days a week to complete this project on time and within budget.

“This new operating theatre will give doctors and nurses the very best facilities they need to do what they do best – provide world-class care where people need it most,” Phillip said.

Central Highlands Rural Health CEO Maree Cuddihy said the health service planned to grow its workforce in partnership with perioperative services at Grampians Health.

“We are also sourcing state-of-the-art equipment to provide surgical procedures with minimal downtime for the patients resulting in an improved recovery time,” Maree said.