A huge shortfall in mental health services will be addressed by a major expansion at Shepparton Private Hospital.
A $12 million upgrade of the Ramsay Health Care site will provide the region with much-needed private inpatient rehabilitation and mental health services.
Upon completion, it will be the first time the hospital has offered such services.
The expansion will include a 14-bed inpatient mental health area and 12 rehabilitation patient rooms, among other facilities.
The current lack of services in the region means local residents have to travel up to four hours to access mental health and rehabilitation care.
In the past year alone, more than 500 patients requiring the care have been referred elsewhere.
Shepparton Private Hospital chief executive Sheryl Keir said analysis of patient data demonstrated just how many patients were leaving the area each year seeking these areas of care.
“I reviewed the data, had meetings with specialists, asked their impressions of what was needed in the community,” Ms Keir said.
“[Patients] haven’t had the option [locally]… there are [others]who would have used services had they been available.”
Director of clinical services Margot McGrath said all of the hospital’s staff were very excited about the additional services.
“To offer them those rehab services will save so much heartache for families,” she said.
The expansion is expected to be completed by March next year, with the rehabilitation facilities expected to be available as early as November.