A MAJOR redevelopment of Boort Hospital will be positive for the community, Loddon Shire mayor Gavan Holt says.
The government announced $14 million for the project in Tuesday’s State Budget.
A 32-bed facility will be built with 25 aged-care beds and seven acute and sub-acute beds.
It will also feature two urgent care bays with six spaces for primary care and community-based health services.
Cr Holt said the development would allow elderly residents to age in place.
It’s a great result for Boort ... it will make a great difference to that community.
“The idea is that you stay in your unit for life,” he said.
“As the level of care you require increases, you can still access that care from your unit.
“It’s important people can spend their life within their community.
“One of the worst things that happens to ageing people in our rural communities is when they are forced to leave their community, leave their families and friends and move to another area to access the care they need.
“This announcement is a fantastic outcome for them.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says Boort’s population declined by 227 residents between the 2006 census and 2011 census.
About 65 per cent of the population is aged 35 or older. Cr Holt said regional populations were ageing at a faster rate than metropolitan areas.
That placed pressure on aged care services, he said.
“As trends have changed, the younger people in rural communities have been forced to move from those communities to enable them to access education, training and jobs,” he said.
“One thing that is not declining is our ageing population.
“The Loddon Shire is no different.”
A committee advocated for the redevelopment, which the council supported.
“It’s a great result for Boort,” Cr Holt said.
“It will make a great difference to that community.
“The government has to be congratulated on that.”
The hospital redevelopment is scheduled for completion in mid-2017.
Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh said the redevelopment was part of the government's "proud record" of improving health services in areas including Charlton, Echuca and Bendigo.
Health Minister David Davis said the government was investing in the long-term health needs of Victorian residents.
“The Coalition government’s capital funding for the expansion and redevelopment of hospital and health care facilities is designed to cater for the Victorian community in the longer term,” he said.
But the Opposition has been critical of the government's record on hospitals. Shadow Treasurer Tim Pallas said there was a hospital crisis.