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17 February 2021
SIR, – I add my objection and dismay to many community voices at the proposal to merge Wimmera and Ballarat health services.
We need to keep our community health service-delivery under our own control and not let a ‘suburb of Melbourne’, under significant direction from Melbourne, be given further opportunity to make Horsham less able to make decisions on what is best for us.
A resounding ‘no’ to this proposal is the only justified outcome.
We in Horsham are most appreciative of the excellent service and care we receive from our established Wimmera health provider.
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If the issues that are of concern are only financial, then let us deal with them.
Any merger proposal with Ballarat should be replaced with continuing and improved Horsham community strategies to support and enhance our hospital and we should be looking west and north to ensure that support for Wimmera Base Hospital is forthcoming.
We do not want to be another satellite of Ballarat or Geelong as with the TAFE college, VicRoads, Medicare Local, wast- management group and other services that have been merged, with loss of local input and local employment.
I suspect there are other issues of state politics and power-control that are at play here. If the driver to this proposal is not financial and an attempt to improve specialist medical services being available in Horsham, then start a strong effort to gain support for a regular air service.
I suggest two days a week for a start – when health-care specialists and others could program flying to Horsham, which is one hour from Essendon, and return to Melbourne the same day. That would be a positive for many opportunities for our community and for the wider Wimmera.
It’s time to think outside the box and we must not continue to degrade ourselves of local control and again become answerable to Ballarat.
This proposal needs to be cancelled.
David Eltringham, OAM, Horsham
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The entire February 17, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!