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.”

PHOTO: Bill O’Con­nor

IN­TENSE FO­CUS: Avenel se­nior player Ryan Lam­bert needed to make a quick de­ci­sion as he looked for a lead against Tal­ly­ga­roopna dur­ing his team’s 92-90 win at the week­end. See KDFNL cov­er­age in sport.

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