Health | June 27, 2022

Community facing more service reductions under Grampians Health

Grampians Health will reduce the number of intensive care beds at Wimmera Base Hospital for at least two weeks, signalling another service reduction since the new entity assumed responsibility for the region’s healthcare services.

Grampians Health – created last year with the merger of Wimmera Health Care Group, Ballarat Health Services, Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital and Stawell Regional Health – has advised staff that ICU beds at Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham will drop from five to three until at least July 10.

The organisation has noted shortages of qualified team members and adequate skill mix as the reason for the change.

The intensive care unit provides 24-hour emergency care for patients who are critically unwell, coronary care patients, patients with complex medical or surgical needs, unwell infants and children, and patients who require close observation.

Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the news was another blow for the community, which was promised that service reductions would not occur as a result of the merger.

Despite this, maternity services and Wimmera Base Hospital’s fracture clinic have already been impacted this year.

“The community was promised that Grampians Health would be a solution to workforce and service pressures locally, but we are continuing to see more and more shortages and service reductions,” Ms Kealy said.

“The formation of Grampians Health was meant to generate a service conduit between the four original agencies to improve and expand health services in much of western Victoria, but we are yet to see that come to fruition. In fact, we’re seeing the opposite.

“So many staff are reaching out to discuss their concerns.

“Grampians Health management might dispute that these things are happening, but I will always stand with local staff who go above and beyond to care for the people of our region under increasingly difficult circumstances, and who only want to ensure the best possible care for our community.

“I stand with them and local people, and will always fight for the healthcare services that our community needs and deserves.

“Grampians Health needs to assure the community that this reduction in ICU beds will only be temporary and is not a step towards diminishing bed capacity permanently.”

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