Alpine health threat

Lo­cal board says gov­ern­ment in­ac­tion risks ser­vice vi­a­bil­ity

Myrtleford Times - - Front Page - By JAMIE KRON­BORG

ALPINE Health be­lieves its long-term sus­tain­abil­ity is un­der threat un­less gov­ern­ment acts to sup­port its plans to re­place age­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

The com­mu­nity health ser­vice’s man­age­ment board, through chair­man Brian King, has told the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ re­gional de­velop- ment and de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion se­lect com­mit­tee that the ser­vice has long been “a prime ex­am­ple” of the syn­er­gies small com­mu­ni­ties can de­liver with­out sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment.

“Alpine Health, a mul­ti­pur­pose health ser­vice…has shown that in­no­va­tion is the key to suc­cess,” Mr King wrote in the board’s sub­mis­sion to the com­mit­tee, which heard from North East and Bor­der or­gan­i­sa­tions and oth­ers at a pub­lic hear­ing in Wodonga last week.

“Trad­ing on the ethic that ‘Lo­cal means lo­cal’, Alpine Health has de­vel­oped from a hum­ble as­sem­blage of three small health ser­vices in 1996 to (be­come) the largest em­ployer in Alpine Shire.

“(It is) a sought-af­ter provider of home care ser­vices and a train­ing provider that is seek­ing to launch much­needed nurse ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams lo­cally, na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

“We…and our com­mit­ted staff look for­ward to pro­vid­ing on-go­ing com­mu­nity health sup­port into the fu­ture.”

But the board said the sus­tain­abil­ity of the ser­vice was at risk.

“Our plans to re­place age­ing in­fra­struc­ture have not been sup­ported by gov­ern­ment and our core func­tion – our abil­ity to pro­vide mod­ern aged care fa­cil­i­ties for lo­cals – has been eroded by gov­ern­ment sup­port for pri­vate en­ter­prise fa­cil­i­ties in Bright and Myrtle­ford,” Mr King wrote.

“This is a fun­da­men­tal flaw that can only be over­come by new gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment.”

The board told the se­lect com­mit­tee that the in­vest­ment needed to place Alpine Health in a vi­able po­si­tion for fu­ture ser­vice de­liv­ery would pale to in­signif­i­cance when com­pared with the fully ab­sorbed cost of staffing, in­fra­struc­ture and tech­nol­ogy re­quired to de­cen­tralise gov­ern­ment de­part­ments.

But the Alpine com­mu­ni­ties’ or­gan­i­sa­tion – the largest multi-pur­pose health ser­vice in the coun­try – had a strong record of man­age­ment and in­no­va­tion which should be recog­nised by gov­ern­ment.

“…Alpine Health seeks the in­quiry’s sup­port in en­dors­ing our need for vi­tal fund­ing for the in­fra­struc­ture re­newal that is es­sen­tial to us con­tin­u­ing to de­liver our core func­tions to the com­mu­nity into the fu­ture,” Mr King wrote.

The ser­vice de­liv­ers health care for the peo­ple of Bright, Mt Beauty and Myrtle­ford in three broad ar­eas – acute hos­pi­tal-based ser­vices, res­i­den­tial aged care ser­vices, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing and pri­mary care ser­vices.

Its acute hos­pi­tal-based ser­vices range from a nine-bed fa­cil­ity in Bright to 10 in Mount Beauty and 15 in Myrtle­ford.

These ser­vices fur­ther in­clude perinatal, some out-pa­tient and day-based sur­gi­cal and en­doscopy, and X-ray ser­vices.

Alpine Health also pro­vides ur­gent care – which is un­funded – and 30 high aged care places in Myrtle­ford, 20 in Mt Beauty, and 40 low aged care places in Bright.

Its Alpine In­sti­tute is also highly re­garded for its health ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing cour­ses and is de­vel­op­ing a cer­tifi­cate-level diploma of nurs­ing for de­liv­ery in 2018-19.

“…There needs to be more gov­ern­ment recog­ni­tion of the needs of ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties as it is clear that res­i­dents do not have the same level of ac­cess to health ser­vices and travel to dis­tant cen­tres is of­ten the norm,” Mr King wrote.

A fresh ap­proach was needed – in­clud­ing recog­ni­tion of the need for pub­lic in­vest­ment in lo­cal pub­lic health ser­vices – rather than gov­ern­ments’ pref­er­ence to fund pri­vate en­ter­prise ‘user-pays’ aged care ser­vices in ma­jor re­gional cen­tres.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.