Voluntary amalgamation endorsed by three boards

By Cobram Courier

The proposal for the voluntary amalgamation of Nathalia, Cobram and Numurkah health services has been submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services following endorsement from the boards.

The proposal to join services was unanimously supported by the three boards following extensive community and staff consultation, due diligence assessment and careful consideration of the benefits and issues — with focus on improving access to care for local communities.

The health services are working with the department , but the proposal has not been presented to Health Minister for approval.

The independent due diligence report found no major issues of concern on the proposal to join services — this included a comprehensive assessment of clinical, financial, governance, regulatory and human resource matters.

The services thanked community members and staff who provided valuable input into a range of consultation opportunities, with communications taking place across 18 months.

Overall, the health services heard from a variety of people at 34 meetings; 165 attendees at staff and community engagement sessions in Nathalia, Cobram and Numurkah; more than 70 people attending an additional consultation session at Numurkah; 125 attendees at community tents across the three towns; 72 survey responses; thousands reached via social media with 506 engagements; plus 20 letters/submissions received.

Publications, letters, advertising and media publicity also helped reach communities.

Community feedback is ongoing. The health services continue to meet with service groups and community members to hear feedback and answer questions in relation to the proposal.

The proposal will combine the management and governance of the three organisations under one entity.

There will be no loss of services, staffing or funding and existing hospitals/facilities will remain in place, in their current locations.

Services will be maintained and enhanced and the local identity and unique characteristics of each facility are valued and will be preserved.

In an amalgamated entity, the board would have local representation from each community and three community advisory groups and local funding will remain local.

Reserves at each organisation will be kept for local priorities and donations and items will remain with each facility/location.

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