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  • Australia's first heart hospital to open in Melbourne

    Author: AAP

Australia's first dedicated heart hospital is set to open in Melbourne, more than eight years after it became a key state election issue.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas toured the new Victorian Heart Hospital in Clayton on Sunday ahead of it welcoming its first patients on Thursday.

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The $577 million facility will be able to cater for up to 2150 cardiac surgeries, 28,300 emergency presentations and 108,000 consultations a year.

It will also provide telehealth services to reduce the need for country Victorians to travel for specialist appointments, and be used to train more than 300 undergraduate, 260 postgraduate and 20 PhD students each year.

Both the coalition and Labor promised to build a dedicated heart hospital near the Monash Medical Centre if victorious at the 2014 Victorian election.

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Labor was ultimately returned to power after one term in opposition.

Mr Andrews initially said the hospital would cost up to $300 million and open by 2018.

Early works for the hospital began in July 2019 and major construction was completed late last year.

The premier denied the hospital's total cost and opening date amounted to a blow out, arguing the scope of the project had expanded over the years.

"This is not a cost," he told reporters.

"It's a profound investment in the best clinical outcomes, the best research, the best treatment and of course training up those dedicated staff that we'll need for many decades to come."

Coronary heart disease is Australia's number one killer, accounting for 16,600 deaths in 2020.

Patient Tony Kinman is still recovering after having a heart attack last year and undergoing a triple bypass in October.

He wasn't able to be rehabilitated entirely at the Monash campus.

"It would certainly be an advantage to have rehab here," Mr Kinman said.

"The integration component across the hospitals is clearly where all the advantages will come. As a patient you can see how that will work from nursing through to other ancillary services at the hospital."

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