Rural Northwest Health will build new homes at its Hopetoun campus to encourage qualified professionals to work for the service

Project manager Jo Martin, Hopetoun maintenance officer Bill Wright, Rural Northwest Health maintenance manager Peter Cox, Beulah Reference Group members Ross Cook and Barb Hallam, recently recruited nurses Kartika
Subagio and Arun Chathamparambilramesan, and Hopetoun campus manager Natalie Ladner choosing the design for teh new homes. Picture: SUPPLIED
Project manager Jo Martin, Hopetoun maintenance officer Bill Wright, Rural Northwest Health maintenance manager Peter Cox, Beulah Reference Group members Ross Cook and Barb Hallam, recently recruited nurses Kartika Subagio and Arun Chathamparambilramesan, and Hopetoun campus manager Natalie Ladner choosing the design for teh new homes. Picture: SUPPLIED

RURAL Northwest Health will build two new homes to house staff members in an attempt to attract nursing staff to its Hopetoun campus. 

With health services facing staff shortages across the region, the health service’s chief executive Janet Feeny said the new homes would be one way to attract new staff members to regional towns.

“Incentives encourage people to work with us and having a lovely brand new home to live in is always going to be a plus,” Ms Feeny said.

The two-bedroom, two-bathroom modular houses feature open kitchen and family room plans.

They will replace existing accommodation facilities used by RNH staff that had significant structural issues.

Ms Feeny said the cost of repairing the old accommodation facilities would have been greater than building two brand new houses.

“They were costing us a lot to maintain,” she said.

“We wanted to ensure we had sound and quality accommodation for our staff members.”

An artist impression of what the homes will look like.

An artist impression of what the homes will look like.

Like many health services across the region, Ms Feeny said it was often difficult to attract city-based graduates to their clinics.

“This will be a great way to attract graduate students to town so they can experience the regional health industry first hand,” she said.

“We have an amazing, strong workforce, but like every service, we are always looking to recruit and expand.

“Those shortage issues just come with an aging community and aging workforce unfortunately.”

Wimmera Primary Care Partnership executive officer Geoff Witmitz said health services providing incentives such as new accommodation had been “going on for a long time”.

“It’s a way for these services to attract qualified staff to town, as well as provide suitable accommodation for visiting practitioners,” Mr Witmitz said.

“It is a bit of a trend around most rural health services and is really part of the package to attract professionals to towns where they are needed most.

“A lot of people who go to work for these smaller health services may not want to buy a house right away, so providing comfortable accommodation makes them feel welcome and encourages them to stay.”

The homes are expected to be built in August and will be located on RNH land on the Henty Highway.