Euroa Hospital’s history - part 3
BY 1990 the much awaited extension to Amaroo was approved for 30 beds.
It was not known at the time if this extension would quite fit with the old part of the building.
It would depend on the funds available if a refurbishment of the old part of the building was possible.
Once again an appeal was launched for $500,000.
Never has the hospital asked the community for such an amount, and given at the same time the shire was recovering from a devastating bush fire that burnt through a large swath of land it was with mixed feelings that the appeal went ahead.
However, once again the people of Euroa, together with some entrepreneurial funds from Melbourne and retained surpluses, illustrated their desire to see the nursing home built. The appeal was successful. By 1991 the hospital was able to purchase six acute beds from the Tongala hospital.
This was an example of a small community unfortunately losing acute beds to gain nursing home beds.
The Euroa occupancy was nearing 100 per cent acute at this time.
In 1991, I was actually the president and Nan and I attended a Pharmacy international health care conference, as part of our own continuing professional development.
At this conference I became aware of the health care direction that America was taking, having been addressed at the conference by an American speaker.
The speaker outlined some of the directions that America was taking regarding health care in the local communities
Predictions included looking towards a hospital in the home situation, a greater need for nursing home beds and shorter stays in acute hospitals.
This shorter stay would be brought about by changes to private health insurance and also more modern and changed surgical procedures and medication.
The speaker claimed hospital occupancies would fall to about 35 per cent.
Health care providers would be looking towards day procedure, community health services and include ancillary services such as OT, physiotherapy, podiatry, and rehabilitation.
This all seems to have been an accurate prediction, but put a strain on acute services in Euroa.
Also the decline in private health insurance membership is well recognised as the start of tougher times for small country hospitals.
To further expand on this thinking the hospital requested a meeting with the Euroa Shire to form a combined steering committee in order to produce a community health plan within the Shire of Euroa.
This was an initiative of the Euroa Hospital and was well received.
A report was prepared of the community’s health needs and some action ensued.
A home care programme was developed from the hospital, family day care was later established and has proved a success, and a HACC memory loss programme was started in Gilburn.
Unfortunately with the winding up of the Euroa Shire, and the establishment of the Strathbogie Shire, the priorities of the new commissioners and the shire were not initially directed towards health care and the whole program lost a great deal of momentum.
However, it does appear that in recent times a new approach to community health needs is now under way and will once again look at some of the other issues raised in 1992 and 1993.
Donations appreciated, but do bring them inside. Yes, The Already Read Bookshop appreciates your donations - hours are 10am-4pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-12.30pm weekends. However, the shop advises that large quantities left in the doorway are not appreciated. Other than it being an occupational health and safety issue, the volunteers are mostly senior ladies who cannot move large quantities of books. The Already Read Bookshop team asks for people to deliver books during open hours.