La Trobe University has announced plans to build an aged care centre on its campus and is seeking public Expression of Interest to find a preferred development and operating partner to expand health services.

The expansion will include a private hospital, primary healthcare clinic, aged and childcare centres to be built on its main Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s north.

The university is looking for partners to build and operate a new $400 million healthcare hub that will sit on a 3.55 hectare parcel of university-owned land near the campus’ northern entrance.

La Trobe Vice-President (Development) Natalie MacDonald said long-term population projections showed a strong need for additional facilities.

“The region already has an undersupply of 210 hospital beds and 73 allied health service providers.”

Population in the Banyule and Darebin municipalities is set to soar by 52,000 people in the next 15 years, so the problem is only going to get worse. There’s also a need for additional aged care capacity in the region,” Ms MacDonald said.

“La Trobe wants to be a part of the solution and is taking action now to address an emerging health challenge.

The hub will build on La Trobe’s world-class reputation in allied health teaching, learning and research, and revolutionise the provision of local health services.

“This is an exciting project which will create outstanding employment and educational opportunities for our students and staff, as well as improved access to health services for local residents.

“Services could include a sub-acute hospital, primary healthcare and clinical services, as well as expanded space for aged care, rehabilitation, prosthetics, nursing and psychology.

“This is one of the first elements of a University commitment to establish La Trobe as the economic engine room of Melbourne’s north,” she said.

The hub will be located on a 3.55-hectare parcel of University-owned land facing Plenty Road, at the Northern entrance to the Bundoora campus. The site is only three kilometres from the Ring Road, and 15 kilometres from the city.

A large aged care centre with 240-beds will be integrated with the 125-bed private hospital and consulting suites.

A childcare centre next door will cater for 125 children.

The proposed location of the new health hub next to Plenty Road already has an existing medical centre and small 39-bed hospital on the site which the university plans to upgrade to a primary healthcare clinic.

Another large building planned will house residential aged care living on the lower floors and independent living accommodation above.

The proposed new buildings (photo from La Trobe University)

The University has engaged market specialists EY to coordinate a multi-stage market sounding process.

The initial EOI stage will identify potential development and operating partners to deliver the new private hospital that will anchor the Health and Wellbeing Hub.

The University is also taking expressions of interest from primary health care, childcare and aged care organisations to offer broader health and social services to be part of the Hub.

Shortlisting of preferred parties will be followed by a Request for Proposals stage with reviews and decisions undertaken at each step.

“For 50 years we have been an important part of the Australian educational community, as well as being a strong contributor to local economic growth and jobs creation,” Ms MacDonald said. “We will continue to play a major role in Melbourne’s north.

“We want the local residents to experience first-hand the benefits of improved access to health services in the areas such as aged care, rehabilitation, prosthetics, nursing, psychology, dentistry and so much more.”

The Health and Wellbeing Hub will be a Green Star Community development, utilising environmental best practice.

It will be privately funded, under a build, operate, transfer model often utilised in public-private partnerships, meaning no University diversion of educational funds and no use of public funding.