WIMMERA Health Care Group will move forward in their consideration of a partnership with Ballarat Health Services following public consultation for the idea.
The Communications and Engagement Report detailed the findings of a public consultation period regarding the partnership carried out since October 2020.
The report found community support for the proposed partnership with Ballarat Health Services but outlined concerns the community had with the proposal.
Wimmera Health Care Group board chair Marie Aitken said the group was moving forward with their consideration of the Ballarat Health Services partnership based on the positive feedback received from the public.
"The overwhelming message is that our communities want to see improved services with easier local access to specialised services in Horsham and the surrounding communities," she said.
"Priorities for service growth identified by the people we spoke to include mental health, maternity services, chronic illness support, dental care, in-home care, orthopaedic surgery, paediatrics, heart and cancer services."
Surveys conducted during the consultation period found public support for a partnership if it provided greater access to medical services and capability, better health outcomes, and more services in priority areas such as aged care, mental health and drug and alcohol support.
The surveys also found community concern over a loss of local services, a loss of Wimmera jobs and a lack of senior leadership at Horsham.
Recommendations included the need for transparent communications with the community, 'on-the-ground leadership for any partnership, and maintaining equal access to services regardless of location, among other findings.
Ms Aitken said support was growing for a partnership between the two health services.
"Now we need to decide the best way to do this, including the option of making a new health service to bring out two organisations together," she said.
"We learned there are some concerns individuals have about what a potential closer partnership between Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services could mean.
"These include maintaining local leadership and the Wimmera Health Care Group 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 Health Care Group website.
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