Health | May 05, 2021

Overwhelming response to hospital petition

A petition against the proposed amalgamation of Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services has received enormous community support.

Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy launched the petition three weeks ago following widespread community outcry about the proposal. Petition forms bearing more than 1500 signatures have already been returned to Ms Kealy’s electorate office in Horsham, with many more yet to be returned from businesses and individuals across the region.

Ms Kealy said her office continued to field a large number of emails and phone calls from local residents, all opposed to amalgamation.

“Residents’ primary concerns remain the potential loss of local jobs and the loss of local control over services that local people have fought for and fundraised for over many decades,” she said.

“Labor continues to say it’s not a political decision, but we know amalgamations are happening across the state and that it is Labor government policy to amalgamate country health services.

“Improved services, more doctors, more money and better infrastructure can be achieved without having to hand control of our hospital to Ballarat. Amalgamation into large hospitals located hundreds of kilometres away is not the solution.

“What we need to see is a change in government policy and funding that supports rural and regional hospitals and their local communities.

“The Andrews Labor Government must address the funding model for public hospitals and inject the funding needed to enable the Wimmera Health Care Group to provide the health care locally that Wimmera residents are entitled to and deserve.

“I again call on the Minister for Health to come to Horsham to listen to the concerns of Wimmera people, and put an immediate end to Labor’s co-ordinated statewide actions to amalgamate country hospitals.”

Ms Kealy is urging all local residents to sign the petition, which is available at a number of retail outlets in Horsham or by visiting Ms Kealy’s electoral office at 114 Firebrace Street, Horsham.

She also encouraged business who have completed petition forms to return them to her office, or call (03) 5382 0097 to arrange to have them collected.

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