Bendigo Health chair Bob Cameron, Exemplar Health’s Michele Morrison and Bendigo Bank’s Marnie Baker and Robert Johanson. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

IT was once destined for demolition but after a community treatment, the former Alexander Bayne psychiatric unit will give regional Victorian families a place to stay while they or loved ones are treated at Bendigo Hospital.

Fully refurbished, Bendigo Bank House will be able to accommodate 25 people for short term, subsidised stays.

Bendigo Health moved its psychiatric care into the new hospital, leaving the building on Bayne Street empty.

Exemplar Health and Bendigo Health rebuilt part of the property to make it available as home for out-of-town patients.

Bendigo Bank and 13 of its community bank branches contributed more than $200,000 fitting out the building, which has eight one-bedroom studio rooms, a one-bedroom apartment, three two-bedroom apartments and three three-bedroom apartments.

Exemplar Health chief executive Michele Morrison said the consortium identified the need for accommodation options in the months leading up to winning the bid to build the $630m Bendigo hospital.

Exemplar also proposed and contributed to art works, gardens, a hotel, child care centre, the multi-storey car park and helipad as part of its bid in the public-private partnership that built the hospital.

“But this is the project I am most proud of,” Ms Morrison told guests at the official opening this week.

The house is more than a luxury or convenience for out of town patients. It is hoped affordable accommodation will encourage regional people to seek treatment.

“We know from statistics that when we look at country areas, survival rates are much lower and the reason they are lower is it is just too hard,” Bendigo Health chairman Bob Cameron said.

“What something like Bendigo Bank House represents for regional people is the fact that they can have another home and they can get treatment.”