Hospital parking pain could last two years

THE parking shortage around Bendigo Health will continue for at least the next two years as management encourages patients to choose the “best transport they can”.

The hospital has about 280 available parks but more than 600 workers on the site, creating a shortage in surrounding streets for patients.

Bendigo Health chief executive officer John Mulder said there will be 1350 car parks available in 2018 and management is working on a number of plans to ease the pressure in the meantime.

“We’re in the middle of this hump period at the moment for the next 12 months that we’ve got to find a way to get through,” he said.

“It was always going to be a struggle, we still encourage the public to try and choose the best transport they can if they are doing business at the hospital.

“It will be difficult for the next couple of years.”

Mr Mulder said Bendigo Health had considered “a number of options”, including a shuttle bus from the showgrounds, but doubted there would be enough patronage.

“The last of (the new car parks) do come on in 2018 – that’s still a long way off to wait, we know that – but we’re working as fast as we can to solve that issue,” he said.

The amount of workers will decrease over the coming 12 months until the hospital is complete at the end of 2016, partially easing the strain.

Earlier this month patients spoke to the Bendigo Advertiser of the difficulty in finding parking at the hospital.

Mr Mulder made the comments during an announcement that the new hospital’s kitchen would begin operating in 12 months.

He also spoke of plans to form a business case for a excellent in sub-acute health using some of the buildings at the current campus.

Bendigo Health’s new chair Bob Cameron joined Mr Mulder for the announcement, inspecting the kitchen which will provide about 2000 meals a day, an increase from the current capacity of 1650 meals.

Once complete, the kitchen will service the existing hospital and residential facility.

Patients will be able to order food using a touch screen television at their beds.

Mr Cameron said he had enjoyed seeing first-hand the progress at the hospital after taking on the role of chair last month.

“When you look at these things at the start, they’re a concept. Then you see the reality and the reality is that this is enormous and it will transform health delivery in the region,” he said.

Bendigo Health is formulating a plan for the shift from the old hospital to the new, expected to take place once construction is complete at the end of 2016.

Mr Cameron said it would be a complex task requiring intricate planning.

“When you move houses, you just throw things in boxes and lump things in a truck. Moving hospitals is vastly more complicated than that and it has to be done in a very staged and methodical way and that’s what’s occurring at the moment,” he said.

“All of that planning is now occurring so that we will see that transition in the early part of 2017.”

Spotless contract manager James Cochlan joined management for the announcement, where he spoke about the transition of staff to the cleaning and catering services provider.

Spotless staff will operate the new kitchen once it’s been commissioned.

Mr Cochlan said there would be “absolutely” no job losses.

“We’ve actually moved to the next phase where we’re doing one-on-one meetings with staff, we’ll look to massage them into the new structure and the new hospital environment,” he said.

“It’s as close to a like-for-like as we can manage.

“Because it’s a much bigger facility, we do have more capacity requirements and so we’ve actually got more opportunities that we have with existing staff before we go to the broader market.”