O’Brien goes to bat for Gippsland health services

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called on the Allan Labor Government to immediately rule out forced mergers or amalgamations for Gippsland hospitals.

Speaking in Parliament this week, Mr O’Brien highlighted his concerns after reports of a draft Health Services Plan whereby the Government is considering the amalgamation of rural and regional health services like those across Gippsland.

Mr O’Brien said any suggestion that amalgamating regional health services would in any way improve access for Gippslanders was absurd.

“I am calling on the Minister for Health to immediately alleviate any concerns for Gippslanders that their crucial health services may be forced to amalgamate,” Mr O’Brien said.

“My concern is that these mergers will go ahead as a cost-saving exercise rather than for any real benefit to our community.”

Victoria currently has 76 health services, but recent reports suggest that the Allan Labor Government is considering reducing this to just 12, with six servicing Melbourne and another six to service the whole of regional Victoria.  This may include Gippsland’s 11 health services being merged into one.

“You only need to look at Foster’s South Gippsland Hospital to see a great rural hospital that successfully provides theatre and maternity services as well as great relationships with the local GP clinic next-door and the nearby aged care facility.

“It is hard to imagine that any benefit could come from forcing this hospital to merge into one large health services along with Latrobe Regional, Bass Coast, West Gippsland Health, Bairnsdale, Orbost, Omeo and potentially even Koo Wee Rup.”

Mr O’Brien highlighted that having just one large health service to provide for all of Gippsland would only lead to a loss of local control, and ultimately to a loss of local services.

“I strongly believe that any forced amalgamation would be a disaster for health services, particularly in the smaller, rural parts of Gippsland. The Minister must rule out forced amalgamations as quickly as possible.”

Stay up-to-date

Subscribe to Danny’s regular newsletter to stay informed about issues relating to Gippsland South.