By Laura Michell

A new critical care unit at Werribee Mercy Hospital will stop the exodus of Wyndham’s sickest residents seeking urgent healthcare.

The hospital has been unable to cater for the city’s most critically ill patients, forcing staff to transfer those needing intensive, coronary and high-dependency services to critical-care units in Geelong or Sunshine – and requiring ambulances to bypass Werribee.

But all this will change when an eight-bed critical-care unit is built at the hospital as part of its long-awaited $85 million upgrade.

The expansion will also include six operating theatres and 56 inpatient beds, and will be built over four storeys on top of the Catherine McAuley Centre facing the Princes Highway.

The state government hopes that funding the expansion will ease pressure on other western suburbs hospitals due to the area’s fast-growing population.

Mercy Health group chief executive, adjunct professor Stephen Cornelissen hailed the
$85 million funding injection as an “investment in the needs of the community”.

“People in Wyndham are having to travel up to 35 kilometres to access critical healthcare at the moment,” he said.

“This announcement is responsive to the needs of Wyndham.”

During a visit to the hospital last Wednesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said his government was investing in the hospital because it
believed the community needed better health services.

“We think this is a strong hospital, but it could be better,” Mr Andrews said.

“It will allow [Werribee Mercy] to take care of those who are critically ill.”

The hospital will receive $2 million in the 2015-16 financial year to kickstart its building project.

The rest of the funding is due to be delivered by 2018-19

The Werribee Hospital Foundation will contribute $2 million towards the expansion.

Foundation chairman Nik Tsardakis said the contribution of state government funding was a great result for Wyndham.

“No longer will people need to endure long delays to receive much-needed critical care,” he said.