$4 million for Benalla Health to transform town's only public aged care facility

BIG NEWS: Benalla Health CEO Janine Holland and nurse unit manager Nathan Willoughby at a site set for construction. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS
BIG NEWS: Benalla Health CEO Janine Holland and nurse unit manager Nathan Willoughby at a site set for construction. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

For the first time, Benalla Health has a waiting list for its aged care facility – but a multi-million dollar funding boost will mean that demand is met well into the future.

Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes announced the service would receive $4,396,640 through the state government’s Regional Health Infrastructure Fund.

Benalla Health chief executive Janine Holland said it was the single biggest contribution yet, allowing the construction of new buildings for the Morrie Evans Wing, Benalla’s only public aged care facility.

“We’ve been getting some refurbishment grants over the last five years; we’ve run some annual appeals and the community have been very involved,” she said.

“We’ll end up with 16 new single rooms with ensuites, so the residents won’t have to share anymore, giving them privacy.”

More than $200,000 will also go towards a defibrillator monitor, portable ultrasound device, and an ICT server to help reduce ambulance transfers to North East Health Wangaratta. Ms Holland said the upgrade of the Morrie Evans Wing, which opened in 1978, was welcome news.

“We’ll start the process fairly quickly,” Ms Holland said.

“It will go to tender soon and I’m hoping we can start (building) in October or November this year. It’s really welcome news and the staff are thrilled.”

Ms Symes said the most recent announcement built on a $300,000 upgrade to eight bedrooms in June. 

“Morrie Evans becomes the home for many older Benalla locals and this investment delivers modern facilities that will enhance resident’s wellness, comfort and privacy,” she said.