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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Joining together across our region for better healthcare 

Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital, Stawell Regional Health, Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services, are working together to deliver better health outcomes for our communities now and into the future.

A proposal for these health services to come together formally and create a new health service, supported by a comprehensive business case, has been approved by the four health service boards and will be sent to the Secretary of the Department of Health for consideration.

While the Department reviews the proposal, all four health services are continuing extensive engagement with staff and the community on top of the community engagement which has already occurred in each local community.

A new, combined health service would have the scale to shape a better health system for all parts of the Wimmera and Grampians region. In the proposed structure, all services will continue to deliver health care to their communities.

The proposal would enable the provision of safe, connected and people-centred healthcare, closer to home. There will be significant opportunities for sharing resources and working together, creating career pathways while providing more services locally and reducing the need for patients to travel.

Staff and community engagement across all four communities has helped define clear commitments should the proposal proceed:

  • Under the new, combined health service each of the four health services will continue to provide public healthcare for the Grampians and Wimmera regions;
  • Retention of the local hospital names and identity;
  • Patients from Edenhope, Stawell, Horsham and Dimboola and Ballarat will continue to access high quality care from their local hospital;
  • A new board will be established with the necessary skills and local representation;
  • There will be no loss of services at any of the health care services;
  • There will be no job losses; and,
  • Past and future fundraising will be tied to the community and the purposes it was raised for.

All health services remain committed to an open and transparent process with patients, staff and communities in each local community to develop an inclusive strategic services plan, defining our shared vision and plan for the future.

Our priority will be to provide certainty and confidence for staff and communities, and – as always – ensuring high quality care across the Wimmera and Grampians regions.

Under the Health Act (1988), any proposal for voluntary amalgamation must be submitted to the Department of Health for Secretary review and subsequent approval by the Minister for Health.

 


 

From our board chairs:

Wimmera Health Care Group Board Chair Marie Aitken. 

“We are excited by the opportunities a new health service could bring. Should approval be given, it will create better services for our patients and career opportunities for our staff and support enhanced health and wellbeing for our communities.

“After extensive consultation with the other boards, the community and staff, I am confident about the future of health care for our local area and the region. The new entity will have the scale to shape a better health system for all parts of the Wimmera and Grampians region, enabling safer, connected and people-centred health care, closer to home.”

Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital Board Chair Philip Sabien. 

“This decision is an important milestone for our four health services. It comes after an extensive decision-making process, including consulting widely across all four communities and undertaking detailed due diligence.

“This process has highlighted the persistent challenges we face in providing safe, accessible and sustainable health care for our patients and has highlighted the scale of the opportunities we have from working together. We have identified new and practical opportunities to provide more services locally and reduce the need for patients to travel.”

Stawell Regional Health Board Chair Rhian Jones. 

“Our community has told us what’s needed to ensure greater health care for the future. A new formalised partnership would mean we could provide better services to our local communities close to home, whilst maintaining our local identity and the sense of community that people value.

“Should this proceed, it will strengthen our workforce and unlock new opportunities for sharing resources and working together. Together we can achieve so much for our community and the whole region.”

Ballarat Health Services Board Chair Natalie Reiter. 

“Our decision-making process highlighted some of the great things about our services. We have highly skilled and dedicated staff that provide leading healthcare to tens of thousands of patients every year. We have great connections and partnerships with our communities, a proud legacy of care and innovation, and trusted relationships with patients, families, carers, volunteers and other health services in the region.

“We are committed to a well-planned and resourced implementation process and to including our patients, staff and partners in the decisions that impact them.”

 

 

 

 

COMMUNICATION AND ENGAGEMENT REPORT

Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services have listened to what their community and team members have to say, and based on the positive feedback we’re moving forward.
Communications and Engagement Report 1 April 2021
 
STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS
Wimmera Health Care Group (WHCG) and Ballarat Health Services (BHS) are exploring partnership options, including a possible voluntary amalgamation, to enhance the delivery of services and create better health outcomes for local people across the Wimmera region. Community consultation is underway.
Together, we are looking at ways to further enhance the partnerships between our regional health services to provide safe and accessible care closer to home.
Benefits of the project include: better health outcomes for people across the region; greater access to clinical health care locally; strengthened capacity and expansion of services; greater workforce opportunities, training and development; enhanced models of care and effective health services for the future.
An assessment is being undertaken in relation to workforce, financial, service delivery and governance impacts of any partnership. Each Board will then make a decision in relation to their individual health service.
Any partnership options being explored would focus on enhancing service delivery. There would be no loss of services. 
 
Wimmera residents experience higher levels of chronic illness and ill health compared to the rest of rural and metropolitan Victoria. The Wimmera population is ageing and will need greater access to health care.
Currently, Horsham residents travel outside of the region for approximately 2,200 episodes of care each year, 450 more than 5 years ago. For the Wimmera region, almost 4,000 episodes of care happen outside the region each year. If Wimmera residents could have the same proportion of their hospital care delivered within the region as happens in other nearby regions, 1,300 fewer patients would have to travel to get the healthcare they need (4 per day).*  However, attracting and retaining health care professionals is becoming increasingly difficult, with gaps in a few critical clinical areas.
 
*Source: Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset 2018-19

HAVE YOUR SAY
Tell us what is important to you to enhance services and improve health outcomes for people in the Wimmera region.
 
Make a written submission to:
Partnership Proposal,
 Wimmera Health Care Group
83 Baillie Street, Horsham VIC 3400 or 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
We will keep communities informed through our website, social media, media, meetings/sessions and letters as we work through this process.
 
 
For further information:
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (03) 5381 9293
Or visit the websites: WHCG www.whcg.org.au  or BHS www.bhs.org.au

If you have any questions or feedback regarding Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services partnering for better health, please contact us via the form below.
This form can be anonymous if you wish. If you would like a reply, ensure you include your name and email address.

Media Releases 

05.12.2020 Strengthening Partnerships
04.12.2020 Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Service Strengthening Partnerships
02.11.2020  Health Services Explore Partnership Options
24.09.2020  WHCG Appoints CUBE for Partnering Ideas
07.08.2020  Healthy Discussion to Improve Partnerships