An additional 25 medical practitioners, 46 extra car parks and an after hours clinic form part of a bold new vision to transform the Launceston Health Hub into a first class medical precinct.
A development application to demolish the former Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union office on Wellington Street is before the City of Launceston council.
The hub purchased the union site in January and now plans to expand and reconfigure its existing site next door into a five storey "health ecosystem". This includes after hours services aimed at relieving pressures on the nearby Launceston General Hospital.
LHH director Dr Jerome Muir Wilson said their vision for the next five years was to become Northern Tasmania's leading co-located health service provider, helping to keep patients out of the emergency department.
"Sometimes you look at health and demand and the conversation turns to new buildings being built. That is one important part, but building a service is far more important," he said.
"We've filled up the health hub, but we still feel like there's more to do in the health space. We want to do what we can so people don't need to go over our back fence to the hospital."
According to the planning submission, the six storey building on the union site (five above ground) will serve as an extension of the existing LHH site, offering more consulting rooms, pathology laboratory, radiology and a day surgery.
The proposed expansion will result an increase from 48 existing medical practitioners to 73, with the number of medical staff on site at any one time to increase to 25 - including seven GPs and 18 specialists.
The number of car park spaces for patients will also increase to 166. Existing spaces allocated for medical practitioners will decrease from 48 to zero, with staff to be asked to find alternative arrangements.
With design plans from 6ty Degrees, Dr Muir Wilson said they were looking to partner with additional specialists, allied health and imaging providers.
"The building is the easy part with a great team at 6ty leading the design which includes cladding the building in a DNA sequence," he said.
"We held a design competition as we wanted a welcoming building that didn't look like a hospital and it was great that 6ty won after designing the previous stages.
"Delivering new and innovative services is more of a challenge and the health hub team are certainly up for this challenge."
6ty Degrees principal architect David Gillies said the design not only represented the vision of the health hub by evoking a feeling of health and wellbeing, but created a building that accommodates the various functional areas through flexibility and adaptability.
"The existing multi storey facade facing Wellington Street was designed as a backdrop for the Health Hub and the building was designed to maintain the functionality of the site that existed at the site," he said.
"With the inclusion of the site into the union site into the complex it now gives us the opportunity to add and complete this facade.
"Currently the complex is concealed from the Wellington Street commuter, blending into the non-descript fabric of the existing union building."
The DA is still being advertised and does not close until December 21.
If approved, Dr Muir Wilson said they hope to start building late next year, with the first patients to be seen in 2023.
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