Hospitals 28 May 2024

New Footscray Hospital Project newsletter #9 | May 2024

Timeline - onsite works lookahead

  • Step 3
    MAY-AUGUST Internal fit-out continues across 13 levels, landscaping works continue and Hospital Street works underway
    Step 3
    Internal fit-out continues across 13 levels, landscaping works continue and Hospital Street works underway
  • Step 3
    MAY External façade and Victoria University (VU) footbridge completion works
    Step 3
    External façade and Victoria University (VU) footbridge completion works
  • Step 1
    JUNE Victoria University footbridge works completed
    Step 1
    Victoria University footbridge works completed
  • Step 1
    JULY Installation of internal finishes (vinyl, painting and joinery) throughout the hospital buildings
    Step 1
    Installation of internal finishes (vinyl, painting and joinery) throughout the hospital buildings
  • Step 5
    AUGUST Energisation/permanent power in lower levels of the main hospital building
    Step 5
    Energisation/permanent power in lower levels of the main hospital building

And that's a wrap on the façade

The last piece of façade has been installed, marking the completion of the exterior of the hospital.

Work continues on the internal services and fit-out of the hospital. Let's take a look at what's been happening over the past few months.

An aerial view of a roofed footbridge connecting two buildings over a road

The 57-metre footbridge was craned into place over Ballarat Road, connecting the hospital to Victoria University.

A view from the street looking up at the facade of New Footscray Hospital. In the foreground, three trees stand in front of signage that reads "Your new Footscray Hospital - better care, closer to home"

Façade installation is complete on all five buildings on the new Footscray Hospital site. The façade includes all pre-cast panels, glass, and screening.

Cladding attached to the exterior of a building, with building materials on the ground underneath

Advanced structure works, including roof cladding, are underway on Hospital Street, with glass now being installed.

Hospital Street is the link between the main hospital building and sub-acute buildings on the ground floor.

A construction site beside a building, contained within barriers that form a corner alongside two roads

With landscaping underway, site sheds on the corner of Geelong and Ballarat Roads have been removed to make way for works in this area.

An aerial view of a tower of cladding beside the building, with a yellow and grey crane to its left

Plant rooms housing a variety of equipment to run the hospital are nearing completion on the main hospital (inpatient unit tower) and sub-acute hospital buildings.

Bridging health and education at the new hospital

Footscray locals and construction enthusiasts of all ages stopped to watch the installation of the pedestrian footbridge over Ballarat Road in March.

Spanning Ballarat Road, the 57-metre-long elevated footbridge, weighing 120 tonnes was carefully craned into place. The footbridge now provides a direct link between the hospital and Victoria University.

Four people in hard hats and orange fluorescent vests stand behind a nursing student wearing a yellow hard hat and orange vests speaking into a microphone stand
VU Chancellor the Hon Steve Bracks, Member for Footscray Katie Hall, VU Nursing student Teaghan Wilton, Member for Laverton, Sarah Connolly and Victorian Minister for Health Infrastructure Mary-Anne Thomas.

A view from above a footbridge of New Footscray Hospital

The bridge links to Victoria University’s research and education centre dedicated to health and medical training. This includes research and learning facilities for students studying:

  • nursing and midwifery
  • physiotherapy
  • speech pathology
  • dietetics, biomedicine, and psychology.

Ongoing works on the bridge will include a concrete pour and façade works. This will involve additional traffic impacts. More information will be provided to neighbouring residents in advance.

Congratulations to Multiplex and all those involved in the planning and successful installation of the bridge. Watch the bridge being lifted into place!

New Footscray Hospital pedestrian footbridge connects health and education

View accessible transcript

A boy in a hard hat and fluorescent orange vest holds a Lego crane in front of the New Footscray Hospital construction site

Inspiring the next generation

Tommy (7) was up at the crack of dawn, Lego crane in hand and ready to watch the new pedestrian bridge be lifted into place.

The Lego technic build included 2,590 pieces, eight electric motors and was completed the night before the bridge installation – a rapid and epic build!

First nations artists unveiled for new Footscray Hospital tapestry

The new Footscray Hospital will house a 10-metre-long hand-woven tapestry, designed by First Nations artists Maree Clarke and Mitch Mahoney.

Maree Clarke (Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung) and Mitch Mahoney (Boonwurrung/Barkindji) collaborated on the design, incorporating microscopic images of river reeds from the Maribyrnong River and skeletal drawings of local native flora and fauna.

A tapestry featuring a blue stream and pink and purple flowers on a red, orange and yellow background
'Welcome to Country – now you see me: seeing the invisible,' 2024 Maree Clarke & Mitch Mahoney

Plenary Health New Footscray Hospital Project Chair, Kelvyn Lavelle, said: 'Mitch and Maree have designed a tapestry that will greet the public and staff with a striking visual connection to the local landscape, community and history of the west.'

Working closely with master weavers from the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Clarke and Mahoney’s artwork will be transformed into a three-dimensional tapestry spanning 4.2 x 10 metres, making it one of the largest tapestries ever produced for a public hospital in Victoria.

The new Footscray Hospital tapestry is the second major tapestry that forms The Premiers Suite, a partnership between the Tapestry Foundation of Australia, the State Government of Victoria and the Australian Hotels Association to fund the production of major tapestries in new hospitals in Victoria.

The tapestry is a collaboration between Plenary Group, the official arts partner for the new hospital, Footscray Community Arts, the Australian Tapestry Workshop, and the Tapestry Foundation of Australia, in collaboration with the Victorian Health Building Authority and Western Health.

Nine people stand smiling at the camera in a tapestry workshop
Maree Clarke and Mitch Mahoney with the team at the Australian Tapestry Workshop

Scholarships for ICU nurses in Melbourne's west

The Western Health Graduate Program Awards were held in March, with nursing and midwifery staff recognised for their studies and ongoing learning.

Presenting two Plenary Health ICU nursing scholarships valued at $10,000, Chair of the New Footscray Hospital Project, Kelvyn Lavelle congratulated the graduate nurses on their achievements.

Three people standing, smiling at the camera. The person on the left holds a certificate.
Left to right: Nursing scholarship recipient Axel D'emmerez de Charmony, New Footscray Hospital Project Chair Kelvyn Lavelle and Western Health Director Nursing and Midwifery Shane Crowe

'Congratulations to Mawite and Axel on their commitment to their continued nursing studies, developing their knowledge and providing best care for their patients.'

During the five-year construction phase of the new hospital, Plenary Health will award $50,000 in ICU scholarships to Western Health nurses to support health outcomes in Melbourne’s west.

Now in its fourth year, the annual scholarships are part of Plenary Health’s partnership with the Western Health Foundation during the delivery of the new Footscray Hospital.

Nursing scholarship recipient Axel D’emmerez de Charmony said: 'Beyond the incredible financial support, this scholarship represents recognition of my dedication to becoming a critical care nurse and a vote of confidence in my ability to excel in this demanding field. It frees me to focus on studies, gaining deeper knowledge and hands-on experience to become a highly skilled critical care nurse.'

Congratulations to all Western Health nursing award recipients.

Support for events in the West

Hundreds of people braved the rain for WalkWest, hosted by the Western Health Foundation, on Sunday 7 April. Plenary Health and Multiplex entered teams and sponsored the event, more than $145,000 toward the purchase of two extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines for Western Health.

Meet the Faces of Footscray

Lupe Barros, Environmental Manager, Footscray Hospital

When Lupe Barros clocks on every weekday at 6am, making sure Footscray Hospital has a full team of patient services assistants and cleaners is her top priority.

For the Uruguay-born Environmental Services Manager, overall staff-wellbeing is fundamental.

'I try to be very accommodating with shifts, and with everybody’s stories, because I understand what it’s like," says Lupe, who migrated to Australia as a young mum in her early 20s.

'A lot of the people in my team have come to Australia with the same issues that I had. No family here, no one to help look after their little ones, and the language (difficulties).'

A woman with dark hair and glasses perched on her head smiles at the camera

There are about 160 people in the patient services and environmental services teams at Footscray Hospital. It’s a source of pride for Lupe to reel off the diverse nationalities among them.

'It means a lot to me to be able to give my staff opportunities,' Lupe says. 'Many of them are just starting their lives here in Australia, and they are really lovely people and they are very hard workers.'

Lupe recalls her own move to Australia, with her husband, Miguel, and their infant son, Pablo, in the early 80s, with mixed emotions.

The couple moved home to Uruguay after one and a half years, but after welcoming their daughter Tatiana they compared the quality of life in Australia and decided to move back to Melbourne.

The early years were a struggle. Lupe and Miguel worked in retail for many years, before starting at Epworth Hospital as patient services assistants. Both moved up the ranks as they raised their family.

Miguel is now Environmental Services Manager at Northern Health. Lupe has been in the same role at Western Health since 2021.

'I love working here, and I love my team – I’m so proud of them,' Lupe says.

From the archives: Did you know?

A doctor and a nurse sit with a patient, smiling. The image is in black and white, taken in the 1980s.

In 1984, half of the patients at Footscray Hospital were born overseas.

The hospital pioneered a program to help its non-English speaking patients communicate with medical staff, including the publication of six booklets written in six different languages – Vietnamese, Lebanese, Greek, Yugoslav, Turkish and Italian.

The program was the most extensive of its kind in Victoria at the time.

Read more about the Footscray Hospital at The People's Hospital - Tales from the surgeon's table website.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the Traditional Owners of the lands of the new Footscray Hospital and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

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Last updated: 28 May 2024