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Recent consultations with community and team members has confirmed an overwhelming support for a better partnership between Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services.

The great majority of individuals who took part in consultations, support the health services to work together in partnership to improve health services and deliver better health outcomes in the Wimmera.

WHCG and BHS successfully completed a broad open consultation period seeking staff and community feedback on the future of health services in the region and potential partnership between the two organisations.

WHCG board chair Marie Aitken said the consultations heard from more than 1000 individuals through surveys, workshops, focus groups, feedback forms, community pop-ups and submissions.

“The overwhelming majority of individuals support Wimmera Healthcare Group and Ballarat Health Services working together in partnership to improve health services and deliver better health outcomes in the Wimmera region,” Mrs Aitken said.

“We heard that there are opportunities to improve local services for: mental health, maternity, chronic illness support, dental, in-home care, orthopaedic surgery, paediatrics, heart and cancer.”

Mrs Aitken said there was universal support for growing local health services in closer partnership between the two services.

“Now we need to decide the best way to do this, including the option of creating a new health service to bring our two organisations together,” she said.

“We learned there are some concerns individuals have about what potential closer partnership between WHCG and BHS could mean.

“These include maintaining local leadership and the WHCG 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.

“We are committed to these priorities being met in any option,” Mrs Aitken said.

The full consultation and engagement report can be found on the WHCG and BHS websites.

Both boards are now considering the outcomes of the consultation, along with independent analysis from Cube and stakeholder engagement outcome with the Edenhope and Stawell communities.

Wimmera Healthcare Group and Ballarat Health Services would like to thank everyone who has shared their views so far and look forward to continuing to work with staff and the community to develop the best possible services for the community.

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