You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

University of Canberra public hospital attracts private operators

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 25/05/2014 John Thistleton
Vice-chancellor professor Stephen Parker said, "We would like to create health services and innovations and research which you can't find any else in Australia.'' © Rohan Thomson Vice-chancellor professor Stephen Parker said, "We would like to create health services and innovations and research which you can't find any else in Australia.''

The University of Canberra's clustering of new health services, research and innovations will work like magic attracting professionals and students from 2018, according to vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Parker.

Chosen in 2012 for a new 200-bed public hospital for Canberra, the university issued a prospectus last year for more campus development, including health which has received a strong response from private operators.

A four-storey super clinic of general practitioners, which recently opened and was funded by the previous Labor government, and the new public hospital will bookend a new health-innovations precinct on the northern edge of the campus near Ginninderra Drive, Bruce.

The building accommodates the university's faculty of health, pharmacy, pathology labs, hearing clinic and a National ICT Australia laboratory studying tele-health issues.

While the new sub-acute hospital is still in design stages, the super clinic is a solid start to the health innovations precinct, which is expected to gather momentum by 2018 when the hospital is completed and operating.

Professor Parker said the university wanted to see the university's entire northern boundary linked to health education, research and innovation.

"We would like to create health services and innovations and research which you can't find any else in Australia,'' Professor Parker said.

"There are teaching hospitals separate from a university campus and various research facilities on university campuses around health, but this is a unique mix.

"So we would have students in placements doing clinical practicums, we'd have our academics doing research, outside bodies coming in delivering health services and collaborating with us." 

The hospital will occupy about six hectares when surrounding landscape is included, and the remainder of the precinct is likely to occupy another six hectares.

"We have had interest from a number of private providers of health services, from research bodies,'' Professor Parker said.

"It is the magic of the clustering effect. I know we live in days of online and the cloud (computing), but you can't beat being right next to each other in order to promote collaboration.''

Momentum had already picked up since issuing a prospectus.

"I think it is building,'' Professor Parker said. " I think as people realise what a hospital does as a magnet, they realise they would benefit from being right next to it. Our faculty of health is our fastest growing faculty, there are academics available, there are students that could come on placement and do projects." 

Professor Parker said the university may develop a large building for new tenants if interest was sufficient, as well as tenants building their own facilities.

 "We really want to shape this. This isn't just a real estate deal. We want to attract tenants that will collaborate with each other and with us, we want balance in the mix of providers. This is a one-off opportunity to get something unprecedented in Australia," he said. 

"New tenants as well as the hospital would attract many more health students because of the special campus and opportunities to do clinical placements and projects that other universities would find hard to match.

"There is an alliance agreement with the ACT, so this isn't just a hospital plonked on one bit of the campus. We will have space in the hospital and we will collaborate around research and teaching, so it is truly a teaching hospital.''

More From Canberra Times

Canberra Times
Canberra Times
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon