Hospital’s 75 years of health services

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Slice of history: Peninsula Health board chair Nancy Hogan, left, and CEO Sue Williams cut the cake to celebrate Frankston Hospital’s 75th anniversary. Picture: Yanni

Slice of history: Peninsula Health board chair Nancy Hogan, left, and CEO Sue Williams cut the cake to celebrate Frankston Hospital’s 75th anniversary. Picture: Yanni

WITH a cake, candles and a happy birthday buzz, Frankston Hospital last week celebrated 75 years as an integral part of the Mornington Peninsula community.

Since opening on 30 November 1941 the hospital has undergone plenty of necessary changes.

From humble beginnings, the £24,000, 30-bed hospital has grown into a major teaching and research facility and a busy one at that – Frankston Emergency Department has the most ambulance arrivals in Victoria.

It is still on the same site in Hastings St, but is vastly improved, with the opening in February last year of a 92-bed state-of-the-art emergency department and three new wards.

The old emergency department has been transformed into a purpose-built outpatient area. Construction will soon begin on a three-level multi-storey car park, providing 750 extra spaces, and the $15 million Academic and Research Centre, which will be built at the hospital in a union with Monash University.

Frankston Hospital history

Frankston Hospital in the 1950s. Our thanks to State Library of Victoria.

Frankston Hospital in the 1950s. Our thanks to State Library of Victoria.

Although the township of Frankston was established in 1854, it took almost 100 years to get its own hospital.

Opened on 30 November 1941, the 30-bed Frankston Community Hospital admitted its first patient next day.

But difficulties arose early on, with all three local doctors serving the war effort overseas. Three local doctors came out of retirement to take their places.

Food and equipment were also scarce, so an area at the Frankston Cemetery was used to grow vegetables for hospital staff and patients.

It was more a do-it-yourself hospital back then. Patients brought their own linen and emergency patients were treated on mattresses on the floor before being transferred Melbourne.

After the war, the population of Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula grew steadily and, by 1954, works began to add 24 beds and a casualty area.

The 1960s were a decade of unprecedented growth. In 1963, the 40-bed

medical and surgical north wing was completed – in the nick of time. The next year, births were up by 118 and 637 more patients were treated than the previous year.

In the 1970s, major expansions included a 50-bed maternity wing, operating theatre, paediatric ward, 30-bed general ward, day surgery ward and expansions of the Casualty Department. The hospital was one of the first in Australia to install computers in wards.

In 1992 Frankston Hospital amalgamated with Rosebud’s Southern Peninsula Hospital and, in 1995, the Peninsula Health Care Network was established.

Over the past financial year, more than 95,000 patients presented at emergency departments at Frankston and Rosebud hospitals, 81,322 were admitted to hospital and 18,223 underwent surgery.

Averaged over the year, each month 235 babies are born at Frankston Hospital, 8256 prescription items are dispensed by the pharmacy and 11,983 X-rays and medical imaging procedures are performed.

Peninsula Health CEO Sue Williams says Frankston Hospital is a world-class teaching hospital.

“We are delighted to celebrate the 75th birthday of Frankston Hospital today, and look forward to another 75 years of providing high-quality healthcare to the Mornington Peninsula,” Ms Williams said.

First published in the Frankston Times – 5 December 2016

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