Grant steps Alpine Health towards redevelopment goal

Media statement

Tania Maxwell MP has welcomed a $934,000 grant for Alpine Health to upgrade vital services at Bright, Myrtleford and Mount Beauty hospitals and fund a feasibility and business case to redevelop Bright Aged Care.

The Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Member for Northern Victoria appealed to the Victorian government in March, this year, to support redevelopment work at Bright hospital, starting with a master plan update to ensure designs for the service were fit-for-purpose to meet Alpine communities’ future needs.

Ms Maxwell also co-ordinated a meeting between senior government minister and Northern Victoria colleague Jaclyn Symes MP and Alpine Health after the Legislative Council met in Bright late in April.

“This Rural Health Infrastructure Fund grant is great news for our Alpine communities and it answers Alpine Health’s hard work to bring the Victorian government’s attention to its goal for re-development, particularly at Bright hospital,” Ms Maxwell said.

“The hospital was built in the 1970s and 1980s and Alpine Health reviewed its capacity in 2012 and 2015 with feasibility studies and master planning, but redevelopment did not go ahead after those reviews.

“So the delivery of local services at the hospital continue to be constrained by outdated buildings, separate waiting and care areas, shared bathrooms that limit the hospital’s capacity to manage highly infectious patients, and a lack of consultation space for visiting specialists and proper security.

“At the same time, Alpine communities have grown strongly, with Myrtleford, Bright, Mount Beauty, Harrietville, Wandiligong, Porepunkah and local villages now home to almost 13,000 people plus a much bigger seasonal visitor population.

“The shire’s population growth rate doubled between 2015 and 2016 and again between 2019 and 2020. The number of people older than 60 has also increased more than 18 per cent since 2011.

“A dramatic landscape, cool climate and wonderful attractions ensure these communities are more and more becoming a big drawcard, so it’s vital that Alpine Health has the proper infrastructure, equipment and staff capacity to meet local needs now and into the future.

“This grant helps it to take the next step towards a redeveloped service with contemporary facilities and also pays for up-to-date nurse call systems at the Myrtleford, Bright and Mount Beauty campuses and upgrades to air systems in the Bright and Mount Beauty operating theatres.

“Alpine Health’s board, chief executive officer Nick Shaw and staff have worked hard to get this money delivered, and I’ll be advocating with the community for government investment so redevelopment works can get underway when the planning funded by this grant is complete.