Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services - Strengthening Partnerships

Wimmera Healthcare Group have completed a broad open consultation period seeking staff and community feedback on the future of health services in the region and potential partnership between WHCG and BHS.

Over 1,000 individuals provided feedback through surveys, workshops, focus groups, feedback forms, community pop-ups and submissions. 

The overwhelming majority of individuals support the health services to work together in partnership to improve health services and deliver better health outcomes in the Wimmera region.

In particular, opportunities were identified to improve local services for:

  • Mental health
  • Maternity
  • Chronic illness support
  • Dental
  • In-home care
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Paediatrics
  • Heart and
  • Cancer.

There was universal support for growing local health services in closer partnership between the two services. Decisions need to be made on the best way to do this, including the option of creating a new health service to bring the two organisations together.

The consultation also identified some concerns individuals have about what a potential closer partnership could mean. These include needing to maintain local leadership and the WHCG name and identity, ensuring local health services are strengthened for both today and the future, and continuing a strong voice for the local community in its health services. 

​The full consultation and engagement report can be found on the Wimmera Healthcare Group website - http://whcg.org.au/images/pdf/WHCG-BHS_-_Engagement_Report_for_publication_v3.pdf.

Both boards are now considering the outcomes of the consultation, along with independent analysis from Cube and stakeholder engagement with the Edenhope and Stawell communities.

Wimmera Healthcare Group and Ballarat Health Services would like to thank everyone who has shared their views so far and look forward to continuing to work with staff and the community to develop the best possible services for the community. 

About the project

An assessment will be undertaken in relation to workforce, financial, service delivery and governance impacts of any partnership. Each Board will then make a decision in relation to their individual health service.

The Boards recognise substantial opportunities for enhanced clinical governance, regulatory compliance, aged care compliance and accreditation, financial capability and clinical service delivery through exploring partnership opportunities.

It is important to note that any partnership options being explored would focus on enhancing service delivery. There would be no loss of services. 

The services have been working very closely in planning and responding to COVID-19 over recent months and this has shown the greater benefits of the health services working together. Examples include Intensive Care Unit collaboration, Aged care collaboration and public health testing. Other successful partnership outcomes to date include expanded oncology services and strong IT systems and support.

We will keep communities informed through our website, social media, media, meetings/sessions and letters as we work through this process.

Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital - Strengthening Partnerships

Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital has also announced that they will explore opportunities to become an integral part of healthcare in the region and to expand their expertise in caring for community members locally. 

In order to enhance access to health care services and improve health outcomes for the Edenhope community, Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital is going to explore a number of partnership options (including strengthened partnerships, shared service agreements or possible voluntary amalgamation) with Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services.

Before any decision is made the process will include extensive community and staff consultation. An assessment of the costs, benefits and risks will lead to the development of a business case which will enable the Board to make an informed decision on the best way forward.

Benefits of partnering include: 

  • Greater access to health care locally – both now and in the future
  • Sustainability and future viability of clinical services and capacity across the region, and 
  • Strengthening our workforce, developing their clinical skills and enhancing career opportunities and development.

The health services are considering how to work more closely together to provide better access to clinical care locally, to allow people to return to the community more quickly, and to strengthen the skills and capacity of the workforce at Edenhope and the region. There would be no reduction in local services and no loss of local jobs.

Community Consultation will be undertaken from 1 March to 21 May. There will be a range of opportunities for people to have their say over the coming months, through surveys, consultation sessions online, through face to face sessions, and through submissions. We want to hear community views on local health care priorities, opportunities and challenges and how they can be addressed.  

We will keep communities informed through our website, social media, media, letters, meetings and consultation activities as we work through this process. For more information click here 

Stawell Regional Health - Strengthening Partnerships

Stawell Regional Health is wanting to hear staff and community views on health service priorities and opportunities from 1 March, continuing for a 12 week consultation period and closing on 21 May 2021.

A conversation has begun in the region, between Wimmera Health Care Group (Horsham and Dimboola) and Ballarat Health Service that may involve either stronger partnerships or a possible voluntary amalgamation between the two services. Stawell Regional Health have chosen to actively participate in this conversation, to enable them to gain a solid understanding of what is happening in our region – and what opportunities and/or impacts there may be for the Stawell Regional Health and our community.​

​For more information click here

Have something to tell us? We welcome all feedback from patients, family members or carers. Tell us more.