Ballarat Health Services, Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital, Stawell Regional Health and Wimmera Health Care Group to merge | The Courier

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Ballarat Health Services will merge with Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital, Stawell Regional Health and Wimmera Health Care Group to create a new regional health service. The boards of the four health services have worked on plans to come together over the past 18 months, with a business case supporting the partnership sent to the Victorian health minister for approval this week. “This is a fundamental system rebuild, building a rural voice in to this new health system in a way no other health system in Victoria currently does,” said Wimmera Health Care Group board chair Marie Aitken. The four services will each retain their identities including name, logos, staff and fundraising. Members from each of the four hospital boards assured their communities the partnership would allow them to provide more services locally, increase access to specialists, reduce the need for patients to travel, improve career pathways and training opportunities for staff, and provide the ability to share resources and administration. There will be no job losses or loss of services at any of the health care services. The process began as discussion of a partnership between Ballarat Health Services and Wimmera Health Care Group, who then expanded the offer to other health services in the Wimmera and Grampians region. “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,” said Ballarat Health Services board chair Natalie Reiter. “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.” Ms Aitken highlighted the poorer health outcomes and increased rates of many diseases in rural and remote areas, and said forming a larger health service with more economies of scale would make it more attractive for medical specialists and health professionals to move to the region and improve service delivery. “The option is not to stand back and ignore this data, not to keep doing what we’ve always been doing because that isn’t working,” she said. The four health services have consulted widely with staff and their communities before deciding to join the partnership. “Our community has told us what’s needed to ensure greater health care for the future,” said Stawell Regional Health board chair Rhian Jones. IN OTHER NEWS “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.” If the proposal is approved, a new board will be established with the necessary skills and local representation from each of the communities served by the health services. Our team of local journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the Ballarat community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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