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Doctors make urgent plea for Melton hospital

Melton doctors are making an urgent plea for a 24-hour hospital to be built in the area to cope with the medical needs of the burgeoning suburb.

A group of 33 doctors and radiographers have warned that patient lives will be at risk if a major hospital isn’t built soon.

The population of Melton is currently 163,000, and is expected to surge to 250,000 people by 2030.

Currently, the nearest 24-hour hospital is located in Sunshine, 34 kilometres away.

Melton GP Dr Marcus Watson said patients in need of urgent medical care are sent to Sunshine or Footscray, but the hospitals are unable to cope with the load.

“We’re certainly not criticising is the healthcare that’s being provided by Sunshine and Footscray in the west, but the thing is, they’re just under-resourced,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“By the time people get transferred in ambulances and get all the way down there, and have long wait times, they often have less than good outcomes.

“The Western Highway is often very, very blocked with traffic.

“We’ve had disasters as well as near misses, a lot of near misses.”

Dr Watson said too many patients are being sent home because of a lack of hospital beds.

“They can’t put people in hospital and they often just send them home, and hope they’ll come back if they’re in trouble,” he said.

The group is calling on the government to begin construction on a hospital by 2022.

The government is looking into building the hospital, and has funded a business case.

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Image: Katleho Seisa