As health has become a battleground in the state’s upcoming election, the current Labor government has outlined a twelve-year plan to upgrade both the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Royal Women’s Hospital and to build a new medical precinct in the future suburb of Arden Melbourne’s inner north-west.

The new precinct will host new campuses for both hospitals and will feature centres for elective surgery, outpatient treatment, clinical trials, rehabilitation and low-risk women’s healthcare services.

Meanwhile, the redeveloped Parkville sites will focus on emergency, trauma and acute care.

All up, the project will boost health system capacity, including:

  • An additional 10,500 elective procedures, through eight new theatres at the RMH Arden campus
  • Enabling 1,000 more patients to receive critical care across both campuses
  • Capacity for 2,500 more births at the RWH
  • Delivery of more than 1,800 beds and treatment spaces.

A new Home-Based Care Hub will become the centre of home care coordination between health services, hospitals and patients.

All up, the project is expected to cost $5-6 billion.

The government has promised an initial investment of $2-2.5 billion.

This will fund the first stage of works and deliver the first hospital tower in the Arden precinct – creating more than 400 beds and treatment spaces.

All up, the first stage is expected to create 7,500 jobs in construction and 12,500 more in the supply chain.

Future stages will rebuild and expand the hospital buildings Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Womens’ Hospital in Parkville.

The project will deliver additional education and research space and will support further collaboration with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and other medical research partners to work on ways to better integrate teaching, training and research with patient care.

Both the Parkville and Arden medical precincts will also be linked by the Metro Tunnel, which when complete by 2025 will deliver new stations at each campus and connect each to the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton.

Should all stages of the proposed Suburban Rail Loop eventually proceed, the Parkville and Arden medical precincts will also be connected to the Box Hill Hospital and the Austin Hospital.

The announcement is the latest as healthcare has emerged as a battleground in the upcoming state election on November 26.

The Coalition sees healthcare as a weakness of the current Labor Government amid concerns about a blowout in waiting times for triple zero emergency response calls.

Meanwhile, healthcare system capacity has come into sharp public focus throughout the COVID pandemic.

In addition, to the new precinct, other pledges of the current government include:

  • $675 million for a new hospital in West Gippsland
  • $560 million for upgrades at Monash hospital
  • More than $1 billion to redevelop the Austin and Northern hospitals in Melbourne’s north
  • $290 million to redevelop and expand Wonthaggi Hospital
  • Up to $1.05 billion to redevelop the Maroondah Hospital.

Meanwhile, the Coalition has made $4.5 billion worth of promises, including:

  • $900 million for the Royal Children’s Hospital Werribee campus
  • $750 million for a new hospital at Mildura
  • $550 million to rebuild Caulfield Hospital
  • $400 million for a new hospital in West Gippsland
  • $400 million for a new infectious diseases response centre
  • $400 million to upgrade Maroondah Hospital
  • $340 million to redevelop Rosebud Hospital
  • $300 million for a new Albury-Wodonga hospital
  • $100 million for a cancer centre at Shepparton
  • $75 million to redevelop Daylesford Hospital
  • $60 million to redevelop Mansfield District Hospital
  • $30 million to upgrade St Arnaud Hospital
  • $25 million to upgrade Sandringham Hospital
  • Guaranteed funding to keep the state’s bush hospitals at Euroa, Nagambie, Neerim, Heyfield and Cobden open.


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