BENDIGO’S brand new, world class hospital will celebrate its official opening today.

The hospital is a tribute and acknowledgement to a generation of planners, consortium partners, medical experts, the community, and yes, even governments who have all had a say and a stake in creating one of the best regionally based hospitals in Australia, if not the world.

Under the auspices of Bendigo Health and the project partners, this magnificent $630 million plus project has transformed the way health services are delivered in our city and the broader region, and the creation of such a high standard facility has had a bevy of added benefits for

Equipped with 372 inpatient beds; 72 same-day beds; 11 new operating theatres; an integrated cancer centre and an 80-bed psychiatry services facility including a parent-infant unit, the new hospital is something all Victorians can and should be proud of.

Employment numbers at Bendigo Health have surged dramatically, as a new generation of highly skilled medical professionals look to make this city their home.

Many of the new positions created out of the new hospital project are also highly paid, further helping to boost the local economy.

Then there are the obvious benefits of having such a great hospital to look after those in need, and to make treatment and recovery more comfortable simply because we are all now able to access more health services locally without the need to travel to Melbourne.

More lives are now being saved here in Bendigo, thanks to the outstanding skills and expertise of our local health professionals, and that’s something we should all feel particularly proud of and be extremely grateful for.

As a training facility for future generations of doctors, nurses and other health practitioners, our new hospital has a significant role to play, and a lot to offer.

The people of Bendigo and the northern Victoria region have been strong in their support of Bendigo Health for many years, and the ongoing community contributions towards the organisation and more pointedly, the hospital, is to be

Millions of dollars has been donated to support new and improved services and the purchase of vital equipment, and while we all hope we don’t have to call upon the services of the hospital too often, it is comforting to know that the very best of care is so close at hand.

The new hospital project completion may well have been marked by the opening of the new car park and helipad, but in essence, the challenge for we, the community, to continue to support our hospital is ongoing.