Should the private for profit management of the Mildura Base Hospital continue? Is one of the questions being asked in an online survey being undertaken by the Victorian Government as part of their Community Consultation into health care in the Mildura region.
The Andrews Labor Government in the lead up to the Victorian State election on November 24th, have announced that they are giving the Mildura community the opportunity to share their thoughts on health needs now and into the future, including the question of whether the Base Hospital should be returned to public management.
In media released, the Andrews Labor Government hit out at the Liberal Nationals who privatised the Mildura Base Hospital in 1998, as part of what the Labor Party claim were savage cuts to healthcare that saw beds close, waiting lists spiral out of control, hospitals shut down or privatised, and hard-working health staff out of jobs.
Mildura Base Hospital is the only publicly-owned, privately-operated hospital in Victoria. It is currently operated by Ramsay Health as part of a contract reached with the Liberal Nationals in 1998, and then extended by the former Liberal Government.
The Labor Government said, a community campaign calling on Mildura Base Hospital to be returned to public hands is gathering pace, so the Labor Government is launching a community consultation to help determine the future of health care in Mildura.
The campaign to return the hospital to public management is being spearheaded by the Mildura Hospital Conversation. President of the group, Noel Pound, a very experienced nurse, was instrumental in setting up the group and creating a conversation about improving health outcomes for patients at the Mildura Base Hospital.
A delegation from the Mildura Hospital Conversation recently travelled to Melbourne to meet with the Health Minister, Jill Hennessy's senior advisor. The group highlighted concerns around the negative impact the model under which the hospital operates has on staff and patients and the need to return the hospital to public management.
Ramsay Health issued a media release welcoming the announcement by the Department of Health of a community consultation process on the future health needs of the Mildura region.
Mildura Base Hospital Chief Executive Officer Julia Morgan said the hospital operator, Ramsay Health Care, supported the process.
“It’s important for the community to have input in how the region’s health needs are provided, and this is significant opportunity for the community to have a voice,” Ms Morgan said.
“It’s important that a broad cross section of people and organisations are involved, and we will be encouraging as many as possible to share their thoughts,” she said.
"Ramsay Health Care will be encouraging active participation in the process,” Ms Morgan said.
Mr Pound said "Mildura Hospital Conversation encourages the community to complete the survey and provide submissions during the consultation period. We want our hospital back and now is the chance to tell the Government just that."
Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said “hospitals belong to the community, no matter whether they’re publicly or privately operated. We want Mildura families to tell us what the future of Mildura Base Hospital should be.”
Those wanting to participate in the Community Consultation may complete a short online survey, provide a submission and register to attend consultation sessions to be held during the process.
The online survey is available at https://engage.vic.gov.au/future-health-care-needs-mildura