Community having their say in the next ‘people’s hospital’ for Footscray
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Hospitals, Melbourne

Community having their say on the next ‘people’s hospital’ for Footscray

12 November 2019

Through the New Footscray Hospital Community Consultative Committee (the committee), Melbourne’s inner west is having their say on the next ‘people’s hospital’ for Footscray.

Chaired by Katie Hall MP, Member for Footscray, the enthusiastic group have met monthly since June 2019. They have provided valuable advice on a range of issues including use of public spaces, amenity, local culture and the vision and aspirations of the community.

The people’s hospital

Opening in 1953, Footscray Hospital was described as the ‘ultimate triumph’ and ‘a grassroots campaign led by trade unionists, employers, church and community leaders – a people’s movement – [that] had created a people’s hospital’, according to The People’s Hospital: Tales from the Surgeon’s Table by Caroline Milburn.

Fast forward to 2019, and work is underway to help develop the next ‘people’s hospital’ for Footscray.

With 13 community members and representatives from Western Health, Maribyrnong City Council and cohealth, the committee is working hard to shape the development of the new Footscray Hospital.

The committee’s work has included generating and prioritising ideas for indoor and outdoor spaces, wayfinding and, importantly, shaping a hospital that authentically meets community needs. Ideas around green spaces, use of natural light, public transport links and the important role of artwork have all been captured as part of the consultation process.

August – a month full of ideas

At its August meeting, the committee was joined by the Victorian Minister for Heath, Jenny Mikakos, as they worked to define what it means to build a hospital to serve Footscray and Melbourne’s inner west community.

With sticky notes and butcher’s paper, the committee looked to answer key questions about their community. What is unique about the inner west? What makes you proud to live here? And what will the new Footscray Hospital mean to you?

Generating nearly 300 ideas, the committee has helped shape the understanding of this community’s identity; from its working-class history, a diverse and multicultural community, the Maribyrnong River and the Western Bulldogs AFL team. The New Footscray Hospital Project Team now has a better understanding of the fabric of Footscray and Melbourne’s inner west to help shape this significant investment.

Giving the community a say

The Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority (VHHSBA) is committed to giving the community a say, with local input critical to the delivery of the flagship $1.5 billion project. Following community consultation and engagement sessions earlier this year, the committee is building and expanding on the insights already captured.

By understanding the ideas, priorities, questions and concerns held by the community, VHHSBA has the best opportunity to deliver a new hospital that truly reflects the community it serves.

Learn more about the new Footscray Hospital Project via our dedicated project page.