A significant person donned a red “WTF” shirt at the Sick of Waiting campaign launch in March.
PLEASE NOTE: This story was first published in the 23 March 2018 Baw Baw Citizen print edition and has been uploaded now for archival access.
Ormond Pearson was CEO of the West Gippsland Healthcare Group for 14 years, leading the organisation when it started looking at alternative sites to build a new hospital.
“The board decided that with the population growth that was happening here, we really needed to look at some alternative sites to see where we could relocate and build a new hospital,” Mr Pearson told the Baw Baw Citizen.
“With the amount of money that has been invested in the old hospital over a period of time, you do get to a point where you can only do so much with the facilities you have.
Certainly going to a greenfield site is by far the best option, and also the cheapest option from the masterplan that was done in my time at the hospital.”
Asked if he was surprised by how long the process has taken, Mr Pearson said no.
“It’s disappointing we don’t have a commitment from government at all levels…, but it’s not surprising that we actually have this time span because it is a major project,” he said.
“It’s a multi-million dollar project, and it does take a lot of planning and commitment. But all of the planning work has now been done as I understand it, so it’s really time for government to make a commitment and fund this to support what is a significant, growing population.”
Asked of the significance of the hospital, Mr Pearson said “it’s a critical thing for a region like this.”
“If we’re going to have a population of 80,000 plus in years to come, you must be able to serve those people in the community in which they live.
“We do have reasonable transport options, but people need to be cared for within their own community, and I think that’s one of the commitments the government has, that they want people to be able to access services in their local communities. Part of that is making sure you have the right facilities and equipment to provide those services.”
Get free email updates from the Baw Baw Citizen
Read more Baw Baw News