Health precinct boost for kids, parents

Early designs for the Barwon Women’s and Children’s.

Construction on Geelong’s new children’s emergency department has reached the halfway mark, and the new Barwon Women’s and Children’s is a step closer.

Work on the $20 million ED’s clinical areas is near completion, with new administration areas for staff and a reconstructed main drop-off point up next.

“It will help to meet growing demand in the region, while ensuring care is delivered in an environment suitable for kids,” Health Infrastructure Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said.

It will include 28 additional dedicated treatment spaces including two fast-track and eight short-stay beds, with new treatment rooms and support spaces and a separate paediatric triage system and waiting area.

Geelong MP Chris Couzens said University Geelong Hospital had one of the state’s busiest emergency departments.

“That’s why we’re making it bigger and better for Geelong kids now and into the future,” he said.

The project is on schedule for completion later this year.

Meanwhile, builder Built has been appointed to deliver the new $500 million Barwon Women’s and Children’s in Geelong.

A first look at the early design in February revealed how the flagship project would integrate within the busy University Hospital Geelong precinct.

Contemporary and purpose-built spaces will increase its capacity with additional multi-day beds, birthing suites, operating theatres, and outpatient clinic rooms.

The project will also deliver a new neonatal and parent care unit to ensure families can remain together, with an expansion of the existing special care nursery that provides care for vulnerable and preterm babies in the first few weeks and months of life.

“Being able to access world-class paediatric and maternity care closer to home is important for regional Victorians and this new facility will mean just that for families across Geelong and the Surf Coast,” Ms Thomas said.

Locals have helped to shape the design of the new facility through the community consultative committee, which includes community members and representatives from Barwon Health and Geelong Council.

The committee has ensured local views were considered in the planning and design of the new facility – including the patient and family experience, family and outdoor space and accessibility – through a series of workshops.

Work to relocate the Endoscopy and Day Procedure Unit from the Gretta Volum Centre to the Youang Surgery Centre is set to begin soon, clearing the way for main construction works later this year.

The new Barwon Women’s and Children’s is expected to be completed in 2029.