Local, Independant and Effective

Health professionals deliver quality service for people of Indi

Posted March 03, 2016


CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (11:41): I am very proud to stand in this place today to acknowledge and thank all of the staff, boards and volunteers who work in the hospitals and health services of Indi in North-East Victoria. Our hospitals and health services are so efficient. The ability of the staff, boards and volunteers to extract every single possible cent from our health dollar is renowned. I would particularly like to acknowledge Northeast Health Wangaratta, which has recently been proclaimed the most efficient large regional hospital in Victoria, and say 'Well done' to the team.

I would like to place on record the CEOs and chairs of our hospitals: Albury Wodonga Health former CEO Susan O'Neill, current CEO Catherine O'Connell and chair Lou Lieberman; Alpine Health CEO Lynden Seys and chair Brian King; Mansfield District Hospital CEO Marianne Warren and board chair Rowan Swaney; Gateway Health CEO Leonard Peardy and chair Catherine Upcher; Northeast Health Wangaratta CEO Margaret Bennett and chair Brendan Schutt; Alexandra Health acting CEO Mark Ashcroft and board chair Carole Staley; Beechworth Health CEO Cameron Butler and board chair Katie Warner; Benalla Health CEO Janine Holland and board chair Brendan Smith; Tallangatta Health CEO Lisa Allen and board chair Angela Morris; Upper Murray Health and Community Services CEO Maxine Brockfield and board chair Sue Sullivan; Yea and District Memorial Hospital CEO Dale Fraser and board chair Kirsten Michaels; Yackandandah Health CEO Annett Nuck and president Ken Jones; Indigo North Health CEO Shane Kirk and president Tony Jones; Women's Health Goulburn North East CEO Susie Reid and chair Chris Hazel. To all of the community health services and hospitals, from a very welcome electorate, thank you for the work you do.

I have been very proud to represent you in this place. Under my watch we have formed a local advisory group to provide advice to me and to the Victorian government on the issues pertaining to our health services. We have run a workshop on the issues facing the future of small rural health services and made representation to both the Victorian and Commonwealth governments following that workshop. We have taken up issues around funding, particularly of our multipurpose services—Alpine Health and Upper Murray Health—and really big issues around the future funding under the MPS model. I have been absolutely delighted to be their advocate in this place.

We have supported the telehealth service that operates out of Northeast Health Wangaratta. How proud we were when the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove came and visited Wangaratta and we were able to showcase this fantastic service that works so well across North-East Victoria. To the Bright Hospital, I have been absolutely delighted that under the government's election commitment you received $150,000 for a feasibility study. We have made enormous inroads in the area of mental health and mental health services.

I have been so proud to be part of the parliamentary friends of rural young people's mental health, to attend the various forums, to be a supporter and an advocate to support the work of Kerferd house—I note that the carpet still needs replacing—and to be a real strong advocate for the young people in north-east Victoria, particularly those suffering from mental health illnesses.

However, the challenges are not all over. We still have a lot of work to do, particularly with funding for the MPSs. The particular formula that governs the MPSs still needs a lot of work. I am delighted that the Victorian MPSs will be coming to parliament the week after next to meet with the health minister and continue their advocacy. We have a lot of work to do with integrating the old services we had under Medical locals to the new primary health networks. We have begun with the good work, but we have a long way to go, though, before we can make sure that those new primary health networks are the voice for health services in our rural areas.

One of the areas I want to bring to the attention of the House is residential aged care. With the exception of Alexandra Health and Albury Wodonga Health, all the public health services in Indi operate residential aged-care facilities. We absolutely need to make sure that they have the funding they need to continue to do the work that they need to do. As we go to an election I would like to say to the health services of north-east Victoria: I have been so proud to be your advocate. I look forward to continuing to be your advocate and actually doing something for the very many of our services that are operating 21st century health services in buildings that were built in the 19th and 20th centuries. We have a long way to go. I am absolutely committed to being your advocate in this place.

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