The Government of Victoria in Australia has announced construction works are underway on a bigger and better Wangaratta Hospital.

Operated by Northeast Health Wangaratta, the $17.7m (A$22.9m) project is on track for completion in November next year.

Victoria Minister for Health Martin Foley said: “This significant redevelopment will ensure Wangaratta Hospital can meet the needs of a growing community with increased capacity, reducing the need for patients to travel to Melbourne for care.

“A bigger and better Wangaratta Hospital will ensure our dedicated health workers have the modern facilities they need to continue to provide safe and effective care to the local community, closer to home.”

Upon completion, the hospital will feature a 12-bed critical care unit, an eight-bed short stay unit, a new paediatric ward and additional medical beds to create two 20-bed medical units.

In order to meet the future requirements, the hospital will also feature an upgraded Emergency Department with additional treatment spaces and an isolation room and behavioural assessment room.

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The re-development works are being carried out under the government’s $364m (A$470m) Regional Health Infrastructure Fund (RHIF).

Additionally, $7.7m (A$10m) funding is being provided by the Labor Government to deliver maternity and critical infrastructure upgrades at Wangaratta Hospital.

Local company Zauner Construction will execute the construction works.

In a separate development, 28 hospitals and health services in Victoria will share in $23.07m (A$30m) to upgrade and modernise their IT infrastructure to help guard against cyber-attacks.

They will receive the funding as part of the Clinical Technology Refresh programme.

The new infrastructure will replace older servers and operating systems and protect Victorian health services against increasing cyber-attacks.