12 September 2022

Calvary campus rebuild or clean slate for new hospital in Canberra's growing north

| Ian Bushnell
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Calvary Public Hospital is ageing and no longer fit for contemporary healthcare delivery. Photo: File.

A new hospital for the growing north side of Canberra will either be built on the existing Calvary Public campus at Bruce or a greenfield site.

The proposed development has taken a big step forward with the hiring of a consultant to help develop a business case for the project in time for the 2023-24 Budget in June next year.

The ACT Government allocated more than $10 million over two years in the 2021-22 Budget towards planning for the new hospital, including a business case.

ACT Health has already established a Northside Hospital project team and appointed commercial, technical and legal advisors.

The Government has not decided whether it or Calvary will operate the hospital.

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Tender documents say the current facilities at Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce are ageing and no longer fit for contemporary healthcare delivery.

“Alongside this, Canberra’s population is growing, projected to increase from an estimated 428,509 in 2019 to 526,525 by 2032, with the number of ACT residents aged 65 years or older expected to increase by 40 per cent over the same period,” the documents state.

“The growing and ageing population is expected to increase demand on general and specialist medical and surgical services, especially in Canberra’s north, where the majority of the population growth is expected to be concentrated.”

Arup will be paid more than $3 million to be lead consultant on the hospital project. It is expected to look at two options – developing the existing site of the ageing Calvary Public Hospital, Bruce; or a new greenfield or brownfield site.

The Calvary option would involve the demolition of old campus buildings to free up space to build a new facility while operations continue at the existing hospital.

A range of greenfield sites based on a 12-hectare campus have already been identified. If Arup is asked to provide an alternative option on a greenfield site, it will select from a shortlist of three to five choices.

The business case will develop the project to a concept level design, including project scope, program and cost for each option.

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It is expected the clinical services and design requirements will be largely the same for both options, delivering essentially the same hospital.

“At this stage, it is expected the core services will continue to be delivered at the proposed Northside Hospital with a focus on endocrinology, general medical services, maternity and general surgical services,” the tender documents state.

Arup will review the current Calvary site to inform the concept design, project costings and risk analysis of the business case. It will also update the master plan and support the planning for clinical services to ensure a design response that reflects the needs of a new hospital.

It will develop cost plan and concept design reports after engaging a quantity surveyor and architect experienced in developing major health infrastructure in Australia greater than $500 million in the past 10 years. Other planning reports will include a sustainability plan.

The Government is expecting to begin design and planning approvals in August 2023, with the main construction works to start in 2025 and completion in 2028.

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