Local MP Emma Kealy has criticised Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley for having "snubbed an invitation from the Horsham community" to attend a meeting over the Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Service partnership proposal.
However, a Victorian government spokesperson called Member for Lowan comments "political point-scoring".
In February, during an adjournment debate in Parliament, Ms Kealy asked Mr Foley to attend a community meeting in Horsham to discuss the potential health service partnership.
Mr Foley had not responded to the request, which Ms Kealy said breached a 28-day response protocol on adjournment matters in Parliament.
Ms Kealy has publicly opposed any amalgamation between Wimmera health services and the Ballarat Health Service.
She said it was important for Mr Foley to come out to Horsham and speak to locals on the issue.
"My office has been inundated with emails and phone calls from local residents about this issue, with 100 per cent of these against the proposed amalgamation," she said.
"It appears the government has a firm policy to amalgamate health services and I am aware they are having extensive discussions with health services right across the state. But they must listen to people who want to keep their health services local."
A Victorian government spokesperson said the boards of both health services would agree on voluntary amalgamation before presenting the proposal to the state government.
"We're aware that Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services are exploring partnership options to enhance the delivery of services and create better health outcomes for local people across the region. This includes consideration of voluntary amalgamation," the spokesperson said.
"This health service-driven process must include extensive engagement with staff and the community and thorough investigation of the potential benefits. We will only entertain a merger if there is no reduction in services. No decision has been made at this point.
"Our priority in any decision is the community and we will not be dictated by those engaging in political point-scoring."
Ms Kealy said amalgamation would not help the issues currently facing the Wimmera Health Care Group and would result in a loss of local oversight.
"Any amalgamation must be a last resort, not a first step, because it cannot be undone. If we lose local oversight, our local hospital as we know it will be gone forever," she said.
"Wimmera Health Care group amalgamating with Ballarat Health Services would be a betrayal of Wimmera people. For more than a century, locals have fought and raised funds for better local health services, governed by local people to deliver local people's health services.
"They have worked tirelessly to get a public hospital with a comprehensive suite of services. To surrender that to another hospital in Ballarat would be absolutely devastating for Wimmera people."
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