Future doctors, dentists and nurses will undertake clinical training in new facilities in Ararat with the opening of the redeveloped Pyrenees House.
Minister for Health David Davis officially opened the redevelopment of East Grampians Health Service’s Pyrenees House into an Education Centre on Friday.
“Clinical training is an important aspect of health care education and plays a vital role in preparing our health students for the workforce,” Mr Davis said.
“This Education Centre represents a very positive step towards increased capacity for clinical placements in regional Victoria and the development of a sustainable health workforce supply in Ararat and beyond.”
Pyrenees House, with its iconic tower, was built in 1886 as a general hospital. Designed in the Queen Anne style the building has elaborate detailing inside and out. In 1901 the building was registered as a training school for nurses and in 1937 a new hospital was built. Pyrenees House was then converted to a nurses’ home.
The building became vacant in 1953 and was converted to a 27 bed geriatric ward. Since 1988, the building has been used for temporary administration offices and also as a conference, education and meeting facility.
The redevelopment of Pyrenees House into a nurse Education Centre will provide facilities for: University of Ballarat Training Centre for 20 Diploma of Nursing students (Division 2) to commence in February 2012; Dental students from Latrobe University; Medical students from Deakin University; an Education Centre for East Grampians Health Service; A conference and education facility for Ararat and surrounding areas.
The Education Centre redevelopment is based on the evidence that the retention rate of students who live or have lived in rural areas and train in a rural environment are much more likely to work, live and reside in the area in the future.
Mr Davis said Pyrenees House was the central piece in East Grampians Health Service’s education and training vision.
“New facilities at Pyrenees House – including the IT infrastructure, meeting rooms, student spaces and video conferencing resources – will provide students, graduates and staff with access to superior training facilities,” Mr Davis said.
“The new education centre will also provide additional clinical placement opportunities for students.”
Mr Davis said the Victorian Government provided $300,000 towards this redevelopment, in addition to a previous $60,000 investment to establish medical training infrastructure at East Grampians Health Service.
“I also acknowledge the contributions of the Helen MacPherson Smith Trust ($25,000) and the HV McKay Trust ($15,000) that helped to make this redevelopment possible,” Mr Davis said.
Mr Davis said the Baillieu Government is committed to building a sustainable health workforce with the development of 11 Clinical Placement Networks across the state and the Victorian Clinical Placements Council.
“By investing in clinical education initiatives like Pyrenees House and the Clinical Placement Networks we can make a difference to the quality of learning for our health students and to the quality of care that they then pass on to patients, as students, and later, as qualified professionals,” Mr Davis said.
Photo courtesy of the Ararat Advertiser