Construction is expected to commence on Sunshine's first private hospital early next year.
The first stage of the $100 million, six-storey medical facility will include a 30 bed medical and surgical ward with four high dependency beds, a 21 bed dedicated private mental health inpatient unit, four operating theatres and an endoscopy suite. The mental health facility will focus on the treatment of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorders including inpatient and outpatient support programs.
Expansion plans for the private hospital envisage a future 120 bed medical and surgical inpatient unit and a further four operating theatres to complement stage one.
Located on Furlong Road, opposite Sunshine Hospital, the new facility will form part of the Sunshine Health, Wellbeing and Education Precinct. Ear-marked by the Victorian State Government as a critical infrastructure project, the precinct will provide much-needed services and support for the fast-growing population in Melbourne's western suburbs.
Investors in Australian Unity's $2.2 billion Healthcare Property Trust will fund the development which is set to provide in-demand services to a broad range of specialties including orthopaedics, gynaecology, ophthalmology, plastic surgery and ear, nose and throat surgery. The development will also include a broad range of consulting suite options to support the new private hospital.
Chris Smith, General Manager of Healthcare Property at Australian Unity, said there is no other catchment area in Australia with as strong of a case for a new state-of-the-art private hospital, as Melbourne's west.
"There is absolutely no question that we currently have an under-supply of private hospital capacity in the area", Mr Smith said.
"We know that the older population in Western Melbourne is forecast to grow by 153 per cent by 2036, compared with 96 per cent in the rest of the state. We also know that more than a quarter of Western Melbourne's population have private health insurance, and its two existing private hospitals currently cater to 83,560 privately insured taxpayers per facility.
"This is astonishingly high when we compare this to Western Sydney which has a similar demographic profile, but 15 private hospitals serving 24,616 privately insured taxpayers per private hospital1", he said.
“The development will deliver much-needed social infrastructure to the west of Melbourne and will reduce patient travel time and provide the community with greater convenience.
"It's clear Sunshine’s new private hospital will play an essential role in job creation as we put in place measures to stimulate the Victorian economy and transition out of COVID lock-downs.
"As the public health system grapples with long waiting lists and increased demand, it is important that Melbourne's West has public and private health systems working together to provide the community with optimal care," Mr Smith said.
Unitas Healthcare, a new private healthcare operator majority-owned by private equity firm Belay Capital, will lease the hospital on a 30-year term once construction is complete in 2023.
Linda Edgerton, CEO of Unitas Healthcare, said the company felt privileged to be contributing to the improvement of healthcare outcomes for Melbourne's west.
"Unitas is very pleased to be partnering with Australian Unity to complete this modern hospital in Melbourne's West, delivering quality healthcare to a growing community", she said.
Construction on the new Sunshine Private Hospital is scheduled to commence before the middle of calendar 2021.