Mould within the wall cavities of Bendigo Hospital’s kitchen has forced its part-closure next month.

Water damage was identified within some walls of the kitchen zone earlier this year, following an investigation by builder Lendlease.

The damage has been isolated and contained within wall cavities in the kitchen and administration area, Bendigo Health said.

An independent hygienist is contracted to undertake weekly air quality and bacterial testing of the affected area.

A statement from Bendigo Health said that to date, the results from the hygienist have confirmed the kitchen is safe and there are no health risks to team members or food safety.

Food production has continued at Bendigo Hospital in the interim, but the partial shutdown of the kitchen is necessary to repair the damage.

Catering and hospitality company Spotless is responsible for food services and cleaning at Bendigo Hospital.

Spotless’ facilities director at Bendigo Health Brendan Chalmers said Spotless will continue to manage these areas.

“During the kitchen isolation, there will be no impact to our contracted services or food safety and quality,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Staff who usually prepare food will continue to be utilised within our operations at Bendigo,” he said.

General staff and visitors retail food is provided by Zouki and is unaffected.

A temporary, purpose-built scullery will be assembled at the hospital for dishwashing during the repairs.

Lendlease has committed to rectifying the issues, with the repairs at no cost to Bendigo Health.

The new $1 billion, 372-bed Bendigo Hospital has treated more than 80,000 patients since opening in 2017.

Bendigo Health has a 724-bed service and deals with more than 52,000 emergency attendances annually.

These services are complemented by an integrated Cancer Centre, 80-bed Psychiatry Unit and 11 operating theatres.

– NICHOLAS NAKOS