cohealth’s election plea to ‘save the community’s health centre’

Released on 16th November 2022

Community health service, cohealth, is seeking a funding commitment from the two major parties to redevelop the Collingwood health centre in Hoddle Street, with photos and video footage showing the appalling state of the building. 

The footage shows water streaming through the ceiling and pouring out of light fittings of the Hoddle Street clinic, which provides healthcare to 12,000 people from Collingwood and surrounds each year, including a large proportion of residents from local public housing high-rise.  

The dilapidated cohealth Collingwood health centre sits in the heart of the hotly contested Richmond electorate. cohealth is seeking an election commitment from the two major parties, with the Greens already having announced their support. 

The video footage shows the extent of the problem with cohealth staff rushing in with yellow clinical waste buckets to catch the gushing water and using mops and paper towel to mop up the flooded corridor. 

For five years cohealth has been urging the State Government to fund the redevelopment of the Hoddle Street site and raising concerns over the state of the building, which has been providing multidisciplinary healthcare to the local community for 45 years. 

“These roofs leaks have been happening for years and are just part of the problem. We’re dealing with a litany of infrastructure problems at Hoddle St and quite simply the building is past its use-by date,” said Nicole Bartholomeusz, cohealth Chief Executive.   

“We’ve repeatedly told the State Government that the building is on its knees and that we’re haemorrhaging money on bandaid repairs which could otherwise be used to deliver much needed healthcare,” said Ms Bartholomeusz. 

“The community, and our health workers, deserve so much better. It’s frustrating that during a ‘health election’ that there has been not a penny committed to community health from either of the two major parties,” she said.  

“Hospitals are important for when people get sick, but community health keeps people well and out of hospital.” 

“Through a range of prevention and early intervention health services, community health supports people to stay well and out of hospital. Community health does this day in and day out. We demonstrated our value during the pandemic, keeping thousands of people out of hospital.”  

“We can’t continue to do this important work from buildings like this.” 

“Our nurses, doctors and allied health professionals should be focussed on providing care to their clients, not manoeuvring buckets and mopping up corridors,” said Ms Bartholomeusz. 

Greens candidate for Richmond, Gabrielle de Vietri, last month announced that the Greens would back the redevelopment of the Hoddle St health centre if elected.  

The cohealth Collingwood health centre is situated in an area of concentrated social disadvantage, and provides multidisciplinary, team-based care to some of our most vulnerable community members. This includes women from communities who face the greatest barriers to good health 

Sixty-three per cent of cohealth Collingwood’s clients are women, 45 per cent are from CALD communities and 40 per cent are living on Centrelink incomes.  

cohealth says with State Government support it could create a new Hoddle Street health centre with 63 different services under one roof to accommodate growing demand. 

Projections suggest that cohealth’s Hoddle Street clinic will provide 18,000 more appointments p.a. by 2031, but the organisation fears without investment in the Hoddle St site, it will be facing difficult decisions about the site’s future. 

More information: or 0499 101 638


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More on cohealth: cohealth is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all.  cohealth provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs for disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical, oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services. 


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