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LETTER: Health service stand

SIR, – An announcement concerning the possible merger or partnership between Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services is of great concern to the people of Horsham and wider Wimmera.

I hasten to say that I have not been a party to any discussions that have been taking place in exploring this possibility – which experience tells me might not be good for Wimmera Health Care Group, Horsham Rural City or wider Wimmera community.

A regional city such as Horsham needs and must have its own health service and hospital fully supported by state governments. Surrounding rural areas with their own smaller hospitals rely to some extent on Wimmera Health Care Group for services over and beyond what they have themselves.

To hand our health care to another service some 185 kilometres away is to lose our autonomy and be liable for potential losses when finances cannot be stretched to cover the needs of both campuses.

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Western Victoria needs the best possible health service in Horsham and not be reliant on Ballarat, close enough to Melbourne to exclude it as a genuine western Victorian city, but more a central Victorian regional centre.

With the proximity of Ballarat to Melbourne and the rapid growth of population in Ballarat, demands on Ballarat’s health service are going to increase and the costs of servicing an increasing number of patients will require greater and greater funding.

Horsham risks losing funding to larger Ballarat Health Services, which might protect its existing services at the expense of another health service two hours away.

Horsham must not allow hard-won local health services to be diminished in any way and every effort must be made to retain Wimmera Health Care Group as a fully autonomous regional Wimmera service.

Bill Ower


The entire January 13, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!