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May 27, 2011

Latrobe Regional Hospital will receive $4 million to build new rooms for four additional beds and upgrade the hospital’s community rehabilitation section.

Making the announcement today, State Member Russell Northe and Federal Member Darren Chester said the funding would help to reduce waiting lists for allied health services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dieticians and speech pathology.

The funding is being provided as part of the National Health Reform deal negotiated by the State and Federal Governments.  Mr Northe and Mr Chester said they were hopeful there would be more funding to come for major upgrades at Latrobe Regional Hospital.

“Demand for sub-acute services is growing because of overall population growth and a significant increase in ageing of the population,” Mr Northe said.

“Older people are staying in hospital for shorter periods due to improved medical technology and more accessible community care options.

“On top of that, we have younger people recovering from accidents or sporting injuries and because we have the specialists in the Latrobe Valley to undertake these types of operations, we need to provide the rehabilitation services that are required to follow-up patient treatment.

“This funding is much needed for Latrobe Regional Hospital, and we will continue to work with LRH to improve their facilities and services which will benefit the Gippsland community for years to come.”

Mr Chester said the announcement of $4 million today was a significant step forward but he would keep fighting for more funds to undertake major renovations at Latrobe Regional Hospital.

“Funding to upgrade the rehabilitation centre is a great starting point, but I will continue to push the case for some major funding at Latrobe Regional Hospital to build a new improved Emergency Department and for more beds for acute care,” Mr Chester said.

“We also need to make sure we have policies in place to allow LRH to recruit and retain medical specialists.

“We need to continue training doctors locally and to keep investing in new and up-to-date facilities at LRH so that it remains an attractive teaching and training facility, working in close partnership with the Monash University School of Rural Health and Monash University Gippsland Regional Medical School.

“Improved facilities and increased capabilities would make it easier to recruit and train medical specialists in the region and reduce the burden on Melbourne health services.”

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