Growth and Innovation

Healthscope invests $16 million on expanding mental health services in regional Victoria

Healthscope Limited (Healthscope) today announced it will invest more than $16 million on expanding The Geelong Clinic, delivering 21 additional private mental health beds to Victoria’s second biggest city and the broader Barwon South Western Region.

The Geelong Clinic is a dedicated 52-bed private mental health hospital – the only facility of its kind in the Barwon South-Western region – with specialty programs for a range of psychiatric conditions such as addition, anxiety and depression, schizophrenia, mood disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders and post-traumatic stress.

The expansion will convert existing shared bedrooms to private rooms, taking the hospital’s total number of beds to 73, and include upgrades to the kitchen, dining room and office space to cater for the additional capacity.

The redevelopment comes as the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office last month highlighted the need for more mental health services in Victoria, stating the state lagged significantly behind other jurisdictions in the available funding and infrastructure, and the percentage of the population supported.

The Auditor-General’s report found 45 per cent of Victorians experienced mental illness in their lifetime, while annually one in five Victorians, or 1.2 million, suffered from a mental illness.

Professor Michael Berk, The Geelong Clinic’s Professorial Unit’s director, said the expansion will cater for much-needed demand for mental health services in the Barwon South Western Region.

“Currently there is a considerable unmet need for mental health services in the community,” Professor Berk said.

“These new beds at The Geelong Clinic will provide increased access to psychiatric services for many people who are currently unable to access the mental health treatment they require. This will have a considerable potential impact on our community, helping to reduce the intensity and duration of psychiatric symptoms in the individuals we treat.”

Construction is set to begin in early 2020 and take about 12 months to complete.

The Geelong Clinic’s General Manager and Director of Nursing Janine Haigh said the redevelopment would be designed to cater for current and future demand, with room for further expansion.

“We treat individuals from as far away as the South Australian border, with some patients travelling from interstate to access our eating disorder and other specialty programs, as well as our local community,” Ms Haigh said.

“Demand for dedicated, specialised mental health services is only going to increase and we are committed to ensuring the community has access to the care they require.”