Australia’s Victorian Government has opened Latrobe Regional Hospital, following the completion of an A$223.5m ($146.4m) expansion project.

This project involved the expansion of maternity services, upgrades to emergency department facilities, and the opening of additional operating theatres. 

Executed as part of a collaborative effort between the Victorian Health Building Authority, Latrobe Regional Health, and Built, the expansion aims to provide improved healthcare services closer to home for the growing population of the Latrobe Valley. 

The hospital’s maternity ward has been augmented with two new birthing suites, six special care nursery cots, six maternity beds, and a children’s play area.  

In addition, the hospital now includes three new operating suites and 14 new medical and surgical beds to support a further 6,200 surgeries annually. 

This will reduce waiting times and facilitate quicker access to necessary surgical procedures for residents. 

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The improvements at Latrobe Regional Hospital’s emergency department include a new resuscitation bay, 44 inpatient beds, six intensive care unit beds, and updated medical imaging and pathology units.  

A central sterile services department has also been established.

Another critical aspect of the upgrade is the inclusion of a six-bed emergency department mental health, alcohol, and other drugs (AOD) hub.  

This dedicated space will provide targeted support to individuals with mental health or AOD issues, enhancing the overall efficiency of the emergency department by allowing it to focus on other medical emergencies. 

The expansion supported 600 jobs during its construction phase.  

It is part of a broader initiative by the Victorian Government to enhance health services across Gippsland.  

The previous stage of the hospital’s expansion, completed in 2017 for A$73m, included the addition of 30 acute inpatient beds, a new emergency department, 12 short-stay beds, and Gippsland’s first cardiac catheterisation laboratory. 

Victoria Health Infrastructure Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said: “This massive expansion means delivering more surgery, close to home, so more locals can come off waiting lists sooner, reducing pressure on other health services across the region.”