Barwon Health North has celebrated it’s opening, creating a valuable community asset for Geelong’s northern suburbs.
This new, $33 million flagship health hub will give local families world-class health care on their doorstep.
The new facility, located on the corner of Cox Road and Princes Highway, bridges a gap between the community health setting and the acute setting at University Hospital Geelong. Patients will be able to access a range of ‘walk-in’ health services at a facility close to home and public transport.
Delivery of Barwon Health North is a priority under G21’s Addressing Disadvantage project, and is designed to address a lack of community and health facilities in Geelong’s northern suburbs.
The northern suburbs account for more than a quarter of the City of Greater Geelong’s population and includes an increasing number of ageing residents and young families.
From a healthcare perspective, as GP services in the north are utilised less than other areas of Geelong, residents are more likely to be admitted to hospital, and rates of cancer, respiratory disease, airways disease, heart attack and stroke are higher than the state average.
This highlights the need for better access to health services.
Barwon Health North will provide a diverse range of services including late-night urgent care, which is a first for the northern suburbs.
The walk-in urgent care centre will be open daily between 2pm and 10pm to treat minor injuries and illnesses. This is expected to help ease congestions at University Hospital’s busy emergency department.
The urgent care centre will be led by nurse practitioners, who have additional qualifications to registered nurses and are able to prescribe medicine and order X-rays.
Twelve renal chairs are expected to be open by the end of March.
About 40 per cent of Barwon Health’s renal patients live in Geelong’s northern suburbs.
People who require dialysis often spend around 22.5 hours in a renal chair each week. Having the service close to home will significantly improve their lifestyle.
Further services, including child and family, healthy at home and adult and paediatric specialist clinics will be fully operational by the end of April.
A paediatrician, speech pathologists, social workers and psychologists will all be on hand to help improve developmental outcomes for youngsters.
The service will hold community midwife clinics and mums-to-be will be able to undergo ultrasounds in the medical imaging area.
Healthy at home will see patients work holistically with professionals such as social workers and care co-ordinators to identify factors at home – such as obligations caring for others – that could be impacting their health and work on solutions.