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Hospitals 09 October 2018

Bendigo Hospital: community ownership

The new Bendigo Hospital is the largest regional infrastructure development in Victoria’s history.

Regional hospitals like the Bendigo Hospital belong to the community. The hopes and aspirations of the community have been woven throughout the design and build of the hospital.

The new hospital includes a dedicated garden for the Chinese community that showcases the community’s deep cultural heritage within Bendigo and the wider region.

This video explains how the people of Bendigo and the wider region had a voice in how the hospital was planned, designed and built. 

Learn more about the Bendigo Hospital via our dedicated project page.


[IMAGES: Michele Morrison, the CEO of Exemplar Health, is shown talking to the camera. We are shown a busy street and a park in Bendigo, and the huge façade of the Bendigo Hospital.]

MICHELE MORRISON: In regional towns, the community own the hospital. Bendigo might operate it and the state government might have a major stake, but it’s actually all about the community. 

[IMAGES: Margaret O’Rourke, the Mayor of the City of Greater Bendigo, is shown talking to the camera. A patient is wheeled into a light-filled atrium and greeted by a woman in scrubs and a high-vis vest.

MARGARET O’ROURKE: I think the community probably never thought this would happen and I’m hearing wonderful stories of people from around the region, coming here, that would have gone elsewhere. People from Mildura, Deniliquin and all over. So, it’s become very much a regional centre. 

[Bob Cameron, the Chair of Bendigo Health, is shown talking to the camera. A woman hugs an elderly lady in a wheelchair and they smile. People in scrubs and hair nets sit in a small room watching an operation through a viewing window.]

BOB CAMERON: For Bendigo, this is a matter of huge civic pride that we’ve got this fantastic facility but, for Bendigo and for the whole region, it means that people can be treated closer to home. In the past, if people had to have an operation in Melbourne, they can now have it right here.

[IMAGES: The façade of Bendigo Bank House is shown. Then we are shown a spacious living area with couches, a kitchenette and large windows. A man in a polo shirt is shown sitting in a chair in a holding bay while a nurse prepares his IV drip.]

MICHELE MORRISON: When we were in bid mode, we actually went and spoke to a number of members of the community and one example is Bendigo Bank House. Turning in the old psychiatric facility, which is the Alexander Bane Centre, that idea actually came from Bendigo Bank and they put their support with our bid, so we now have a facility called Bendigo Bank House, which is affordable accommodation for people in the region. We learnt on the journey that a number of people can’t afford – especially when from the Northern part of the state – if they’ve got a family number they’re ill or they need chemotherapy, some people are actually not having treatment because they have nowhere to stay. So, to be able to deliver to the community this massively beautiful new facility or refurbished facility, where affordable accommodation for families or individuals to stay, is wonderful.

[IMAGES: Two men lift a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance. Two women are shown swaddling a baby. Theatre staff operate on a patient. Onscreen facts say: More services than ever before; 25-bed maternity unit with single rooms; and Integrated 80-bed mental health unit.

MARGARET O’ROURKE: The impact of the health for Bendigo citizens, but also the Loddon Mallee region is enormous and there are a lot of services that are here now. Cancer services, ED, maternity, a lot of specialist care and, obviously, that’s created the opportunity for that to be centralised to here and also to enable more specialist care, as it continues to grow, particularly around psychiatry, with our mental health services. I think that’s been a huge uplift for the community as well as having those services so close to hand is really important.

[IMAGES: A toddler in a car seat is wheeled into the atrium on a stretcher while a group of people crowds around.]

BOB CAMERON: People have just been overwhelmed. They say the treatment has been fantastic and the light is so bright! People are just not used to going into a hospital in the country, where there is just so much light.

[IMAGES: A time-lapse montage of cranes erecting a massive air bridge connecting two buildings over a street.]

MARGARET O’ROURKE: “Wow!” “Can’t believe that this is happening”, and particularly when the air bridge went up, I think people just thought “this is a little bit of Melbourne that’s come to Bendigo”. I think this was such a long time coming, that people just didn’t believe that it would actually happen. 

[IMAGES: A time-lapse montage of two very tall cranes over a huge construction site. The Bendigo Hospital is shown being built. A man with a white beard is shown wearing a blood pressure arm band, then a young boys is shown in a hospital bed using a touch screen.]

MARGARET O’ROURKE: So, there’s just been such strong interest, even with the cranes when they were first put up and the competition of naming the cranes. Just the various activities that happened along the way. The community actually participated in that and I think people just have embraced it. The care is world class and we hear that all the time. 

[IMAGES: A parade featuring a Chinese dragon is shown.]

MARGARET O’ROURKE: The other elements were also, in terms of the Chinese community, who have had a long history of involvement with the hospital – almost 150 years, way back in the very early gold-mining days. They have raised funds every year.

[IMAGES: Liz Hamilton, the Executive Director of Bendigo Health, is shown talking to the camera. Then a hospital room with a view of houses and trees is shown. A leafy courtyard with timber benches is shown.]

LIZ HAMILTON: I think one of the other important aspects of the hospital has been the fact that every patient room has a view to outside and that’s been achieved by outside windows that look across Bendigo but also because of the design of lots of internal courtyards. So, I think that really is important to creating a healing environment for our patients when they come into hospital. We often do talk about the fact that we are so fortunate here in Bendigo to have the world-class hospital that we now have.

[IMAGES: The façade of the Bendigo Hospital is shown. The screen fades to white and text appears which says: ‘Produced in partnership with Bendigo Health, Exemplar Health and Victoria State Government. Additional footage provided by NDY’. The next screen says: ‘Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority, Victorian State Government, vhhsba.vic.gov.au’. The next screen says: ‘Authorised by the Department of Health and Human Services 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Spoken by M. Morrison, M.O’Rourke, B. Cameron and L. Hamilton’.]

Last updated: 24 June 2024