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EDITORIAL: Health service scrutiny remains

A blow-up about what is, or isn’t, happening with maternity services in the Wimmera’s heart is a reminder that the organisation overseeing the region remains under the microscope.

Grampians Health, the entity created from a controversial multi-regional service merger, has been operating and evolving relatively quietly ‘in the background’ after forming about six months ago.

Its leaders might be right believing the organisation had managed to get over a large hurdle in quelling general community concern.

But they will need to think again if they believe the new structure and what it provides — or plans to provide -— has fully shaken the target off its back when it comes to Wimmera public scrutiny.

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The reality remains that people list the importance of adequate and appropriate health services in the regions high on a lifestyle priority list. They will want to constantly see evidence that backs up promises of better services and workplace opportunities and accessibility than in the past.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy created a storm last week when she reacted angrily on hearing news of a decision to ‘suspend’ maternity services in Horsham.

Her swift and highly public response, regardless of the context of the ‘news’ she had received or political motivation driving her actions, suggested issues surrounding the uncertainty about the region’s future health provision continue to simmer.

If nothing more, the whole issue ‘raised a red flag’ and zeroed in on potential service shortcomings.

We are sure to have different views on the appropriateness of how authorities are handling health-service issues in our part of the world and also how Ms Kealy responded to this latest issue.

But scrutiny is important if we are to get our health structures right.

Grampians Health officials would be under no illusions that they have big job to meet expectations of communities across western Victoria in improving services at a ‘local’ level.

It’s still early days for the new organisation and of course we’re still feeling the impact of a persistent pandemic. But again, as we’ve said before, we’ll continue to wait and see if it all works as planned.

RELATED: Anxiety lingers over Horsham hospital maternity services

The entire April 20, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!