Albury Wodonga Health Master Plan

Our Vision:  To Be Australia's Leading Regional Health Service 

Master Planning is now underway.

Master Planning will:
  •  Determine the infrastructure required to enable AWH to meet the future needs of our cross-border community (in line with the Clinical Services Plan)
  •  Provide clear direction on whether the new regional referral hospital should be ‘brownfield’ (built on an existing campus) or ‘greenfield’ (build a new campus).
  •  Be completed by November.
Master Planning infrastructure recommendations will support plans for:
  • A major regional referral hospital, with co-located services to improve efficiencies and reduce risk
  • The delivery of an expanded range and complexity of clinical services
  • The ability for AWH to play an important regional leadership role, with training, research and stronger partnerships.

Please also view AWH's Clinical Services Plan which outlines clear actions to achieve the overall goal of becoming Australia’s leading regional healthcare service.

Seeking your participation

The CSP was developed in close collaboration with clinicians and key stakeholders. Albury Wodonga Health staff and the wider community will have the opportunity to contribute to the Master Plan recommendations. More information about how staff can be involved will be released shortly.

We have an exciting future ahead...

  • A major regional referral hospital, with co-located services to improve efficiencies and reduce risk
  • An expanded range and complexity of clinical services
  • An important regional leadership role, with training, research and stronger partnerships.

For more information on the AWH Master Plan please proivde your details on this page

Your Questions Answered ...

We're excited about the future of healthcare services across the Border region. We understand the delivery of high quality healthcare services are key supporting the growth and wellbeing of our community. 

Outlined below are some of the frequesntly asked questions in relation to our Master Plan. If your question has not been answered below in relation to this plan, pelase complete the feedback form included on this page.  

The AWH Master Plan is the next step following the completion of the AWH Clinical Services Plan (CSP), which outlines the range and complexity of services needed to care for the Border community of the future.

The 2021 AWH Master Plan will recommend the infrastructure needed to enable AWH to meet the future needs of our cross-border community, in line with the CSP. Master Planning is due to be completed by November, 2021.

Master Planning takes a whole of service approach, considering the future needs of our entire health services, including emergency and critical care, medical and surgical services, allied health, mental health, paediatrics, maternity, dental, community health and much more.

The Master Plan will review infrastructure needs across all AWH locations including Albury, Wodonga, Beechworth and Wangaratta.

Splitting Emergency and Critical Care service delivery across two hospitals creates significant risks to patient safety and reduces AWH’s ability to deliver safe, high-quality care.

The need for a single-site referral hospital is strongly supported by local clinicians, due to the safety and quality of care improvements that can be achieved via one fully resourced regional site.

Much like the experience of the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre, the establishment of a contemporary cross-border regional hospital will dramatically reduce the need for the community to travel outside the region for care.

Our vision is to increase and expand AWH services to meet the projected healthcare needs of the Border community.

To achieve this, we need to invest in expanded, fit for purpose infrastructure to enable our community to receive the care they need, closer to home. 

At the present time, there is greater risk running two hospitals because specialist services and clinicians are split across two hospitals.

As part of the Master Planning process, the location of a major referral hospital (and Emergency Dept.) will take into consideration access for residents both sides of the border.

AWH does not have a preferred outcome.

Our aim is to support the cross-border community with the high quality healthcare services we deserve, on our door step. 

The Master Plan will present a series of recommended options to achieve the requirements of the CSP. 

The Master Plan will guide the final recommendations of how the CSP recommendations are met, including assessing options of developing an existing site (brown-field), as well as a new site (green-field).

The location of the site has not yet been determined. That will be the job of the Master Plan.

The CSP recommends a major referral hospital to deliver contemporary regional healthcare. A major referral hospital will increase patient safety by reducing duplication of services and co-locating scarce specialist resources.

The Master Plan will help us decide if the regional hospital is best built on an existing site or a new site.

The CSP recommends a major regional referral hospital. The location of the referral hospital has not yet been determined. That will be the job of the Master Plan.

AWH will continue to deliver its services from multiple sites across the region (we currently deliver services from 21 sites), however our acute and inpatient care will be provided on one site, at a yet to be determined location.

The AWH maternity unit will be co-located with all other critical care services (paediatric, ICU, theatres) creating comprehensive and responsive care – wherever it is located.

A regional referral hospital will enable higher levels of complex maternity and neo-natal care delivered locally, meaning more mums and babies will remain local when specialist care is needed.

We must continue to address the current healthcare needs and service demands of our community – we cannot wait for the outcome of the long term Master Plan.

The CSP and Master Plan takes a long term view, outlining the services we need to deliver our community in the future, and the infrastructure needed to support delivery of those services.

The Master Plan will present a series of recommended options to achieve the requirements of the CSP. 

The Master Plan will guide the final recommendations of how the CSP recommendations are met, including assessing options of developing an existing site (brown-field), as well as a new site (green-field). If an existing site is the preferred option, the Master Plan will recommend the preferred site, as well as the construction schedule.

The vision of the CSP is to offer new services and expand and increase current services.

Some of the new services recommended include:

·      24 hour coronary care

·      enhanced neonatal services,

·      integrated diabetes service,

·      increased trauma services including retrieval,

·      vascular and thoracic surgeries,

·      reconstructive surgeries,

·      specialist clinics (respiratory, cardiac, endocrine)

·      rheumatology, neurology,

·      regional models of geriatric care

·      enhanced palliative care,

·      24/7 diagnostics

All current services will be expanded to deliver care locally, as much as possible.

Our community deserves to have access to the best healthcare facilities and services – we should not have to travel unnecessarily to access the care we need.

The CSP outlines a healthcare vision that will ensure local communities receive more services, closer to home and reduce the need to travel out of the region for specialist care.

The master plan will identify the facilities we need to make sure we can provide those services in state-of-the-art regional facilities.

Patient safety is maintained through the energy and efforts of our staff. We have support systems and structures in place to address risks presented by current demands, but these are short term solutions.

Forecast future demand is expected to increase the risk and we need to address the issue.

Continuing to operate across two acute hospitals limits our ability to expand the range and complexity of the services we offer.

Patient safety is always our highest priority. We are currently working on a number of initiatives and investments to keep patients safe and respond to demand.  These include:

·      Albury Emergency Dept. redevelopment

·      An increased focus on provision  elective surgery to address the backlog of cases that were delayed due to COVID-19  

·      continued partnerships with other local health service providers – public and private

·      introduction of operational access and flow initiatives

·      investments in enhanced mental health programs and facilities

·      Community Outpatient Services Hub in Wodonga, and

·      a number of projects as part of AWH’s annual business improvement planning.

We learnt a lot from previous COVID state border closures and how we work with governments and the community – we will continue to focus on the importance of critical care access for patients, staff and carers.

Border closures will be easier to manage with a single site hospital because we avoid the need for clinicians to have to move between campuses. Ambulances and patients are not restricted by border closures.

The vision of the CSP is to increase and expand the provision of specialist care and local services to cater to our large catchment area.

The development of state-of-the-art facilities with increased specialist service offerings will attract more specialists to the region, as well as research opportunities.

High quality healthcare, combined with increased job opportunities, will result in increased residential and economic investment in the region.

AWH will continue to expand its role in supporting small rural health services to provide services locally and connect with AWH when required, allowing people to continue to stay in the region.

AWH will build on its strength in providing specialist regional health services, such as the Cancer Centre, and will work with our partner  Victorian and NSW health services, to provide more complex, trauma and acute care, and therefore treat people close to home. 

Funding comes from a variety of sources, predominately through Governments. 

The CSP and Master Plan provide the blueprint to define the services our community needs and the infrastructure required to deliver those services.

Once the Master Plan is completed we will work with our community, clinicians, health departments and governments to access the funding required to deliver the health services our community deserves.

No, we do not anticipate any job losses as a result of moving to a major regional referral hospital. The CSP outlines the need to increase and expand AWH services to meet projected healthcare needs, meaning more staff will be required to service the demand, not less.

AWH has no plans to merge with other health services in the region. We are committed to a cross-border health service and to expanding and growing our services to meet the needs of the cross-border community now and in the future.

As the leading healthcare provider in the region, we will continue to explore collaboration opportunities with other health service providers in the region, if they present opportunities to improve the quality of care and access to services by our catchment.

On the contrary, it will assist GPs to enhance their own delivery of health care – providing step up and step down opportunities.

An expanded service offering at AWH will build local systems, moving beyond the typical referral pathways – keeping people in the region, close to families and close to their GP.

The Master Plan consultants are architects, supported by a consortium of surveyors, traffic management consultants, costing specialists and others. Their job is to determine what infrastructure is required to achieve our vision, where it should be located and how it can be built.