Public beds funded
Euroa Health welcomes landmark deal for local service
AFTER years of campaign- ing to give public patients greater opportunity to be treated in Euroa, Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) announced last week that a deal had been struck between Euroa Health and Goulburn Valley Health to do just that.
Euroa Health is a community owned hospital, and admission was limited to those with private health insurance, meaning patients and families without it would often have to travel to Shepparton or Benalla for care.
The necessity to travel to, and find accommodation in an unfamiliar town was seen to be further burdening locals financially and emotionally who were already dealing with their illness or that of a loved one.
Under the new deal, however, some patients will now have the option to be admitted to Euroa Health, while others may be transferred from Shepparton to be closer to home to continue their recovery.
Effective immediately, the State Government will contribute $139,200 to support the initiative, on top of the $259,000 provided for Euroa Health in the 2016/17 financial year.
Although this is a relatively small amount of public funding, which means that, in practice, only a small number of patients will be able to access public health services in Euroa, chief executive officer Wayne Sullivan said this was a significant step in the right direction.
“The board of Euroa Health has been working towards having some capacity to treat public patients for some time and we are appreciative that Jaclyn Symes has been able to facilitate this,” Mr Sullivan said.
“I want to make it clear, though, that this doesn’t mean we can take every public patient, and we will have to work hard to increase our capacity over time.
“Still, having public bed capacity, be it limited, will prove to be a valuable addition to the hospital and we are very pleased to have been able to make a deal with GV Health.”
Ms Symes said the announcement of public beds would build on the existing relationship for the delivery of a range of nonacute clinical services between GV Health and Euroa Health, and that several patients this year had already been admitted to Euroa under this arrangement.
“Having worked with Mr Sullivan and the board as well as Minister for Health Jill Hennessy I am pleased we have secured this agreement which will see initially a limited number of public patients treated at Euroa Health,” she said.
“Euroa residents now have greater access to safe and high quality hospital care in their own community.”
Deputy Leader of the Nationals Steph Ryan (MLA, Euroa) has been campaigning for improved access to public beds in Euroa for a number of years.
Ms Ryan has been vocal in parliament on the issue, highlighting to fellow politicians that despite the Shire of Strathbogie being on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, it was until this announcement the only municipality in the state without access to public beds.
“Although it’s not quite the amount we were hoping for and it will only see a limited number of patients receive treatment at Euroa, we can now build on this agreement,” she said.
“We have broken finally through the bureaucratic red tape to establish an agreement that acknowledges that local residents should be able to access publicly funded health care at Euroa Health.
“Up until this point, the government refused to acknowledge that it was unfair that Euroa residents are forced to travel to Shepparton or Benalla if they don’t have private health insurance.
“This shows what we can achieve as a community when we work together. We have achieved a good result, largely thanks to the tireless efforts of Euroa Health’s chair Jim Perry, the board, chief executive Wayne Sullivan, staff and residents.”
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