New hospital attracts experts

THE new Bendigo Hospital project is already attracting health specialists to Bendigo.

The multi-million dollar development is not expected to be complete until 2016 but executive director of nursing and surgical services Peter Faulkner said it was already having a positive impact on recruitment.

"With the new hospital we've seen some changes in interest from clinical staff who are seeing Bendigo as a great place to be working," he said.

"A couple of new surgeons have been recruited over the past couple of months and we have another one or two coming on over the next few months which is really exciting.

"We've doubled our number of ear nose and throat surgeons, for example, from one to two which for Bendigo Health is significant."

Bendigo Health has also appointed a plastic surgeon.

"We've not had a plastic surgeon working at Bendigo Health for in excess of five years," Mr Faulkner said.

"So that's a really important gap we've been able to fill within our service.

"We also have a new urologist commencing in a couple of months' time which we're very excited about as well because that really starts to build our capacity.

"The demand for urology services for kidney and bladder problems is enormous."

Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said the hospital was used to having to work hard when it came to recruitment.

"Often they'd look at our facilities and colour would drain from their face and off they'd go to Geelong or Ballarat or one of the other centres that had newer infrastructure," he said.

"Now we've got something new it's made a big difference around recruitment."

The new Bendigo Hospital will include 372 beds, 10 operating theatres, an integrated cancer centre, a mother and baby unit, a mental health unit and a helipad built on top of a new multi-storey car park.

The project is worth $630 million and is scheduled for completion by late 2016.

It is expected to create more than 770 jobs during construction.

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