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REDHS and Dingee amalgamation set to continue

The amalgamation between Rochester and Elmore District Health Service and Dingee Bush Nursing Centre is going ahead.

ELAINE COONEY December 19, 2012 4:22am

Amalgamation between Rochester and Elmore District Health Service and Dingee Bush Nursing Centre is continuing despite early concerns about the centre’s compliance with accreditation standards.

REDHS engaged an independent auditor to complete a due diligence process, with draft findings tabled at the health service’s November board meeting.

The final due diligence report on the DBNC was sent to Rochester and Elmore District Health Service last week and will be discussed at a January 28 meeting.

REDHS chief executive Matt Sharp said no new issues came to light in the final report and the amalgamation would continue with the official changeover to happen on July 1, 2013.

But Mr Sharp said there was still a risk of the centre being closed down due to not being compliant with accreditation standards.

‘‘DBNC is at risk of not maintaining its accreditation, which would affect funding provided by the state and federal governments,’’ he said.

‘‘Accreditation is the compulsory process that all Australian health care agencies undergo to show that they meet modern health care and management standards.’’

Dingee resident Robyn Brown said she was concerned that the DBNC was going to be amalgamated with a health service in another shire.

Dingee is in Loddon South while Rochester is part of the Campaspe Shire.

Mrs Brown gave the example of recent health research showing the Loddon Shire to have a high level of diabetes, which may not be the same in Campaspe Shire.

She was concerned health funding that tackles these localised issues may not be given if managed by a health service in a different shire.

‘‘If we are (no longer) in a remote area, our facility will lose services,’’ she said.

Mr Sharp quashed these fears by saying inter-shire partnerships were common and did not cause funding issues.

‘‘Already we provide the same type of service to Elmore (City of Greater Bendigo) and I cannot see any problems with it at all,’’ he said.

He said REDHS would have to provide quarterly reports to the health department in relation to the funding and services it would provide to run the DBNC.

Mrs Brown was concerned about the loss of the remote area nurses because Mr Sharp mentioned at the November 6 meeting in Dingee that he could not guarantee their retention.

Mr Sharp confirmed to Campaspe News that it now looked likely that the remote area nurse service would remain at the DBNC.

Four community members, along with two members of the REDHS and Dingee Bush Nursing Centre board, REDHS chief executive Matt Sharp, REDHS director of clinical services Anne McEvoy and Loddon Shire councillor Cheryl McKinnon will form the Transitional Advisory Committee to help with the changeover.

Mr Sharp said the reason for creating the group was to bring community concerns regarding the amalgamation to the attention of the two health services.

To find the four community members for this committee, a ballot created by the Dingee Bush Nursing Centre board was sent to bush nursing centre members last week.

The members have until December 20 to cast their postal votes.

Some Dingee residents voiced their concerns to Campaspe News that not enough information was supplied on the ballots to make a fair vote as it included just the names of the nominated people.

Dingee Bush Nursing Centre chairman John Twigg said the nominated candidates did not want to canvass for votes but felt confident to stand by their community record.

‘‘I’m quite happy with it (the ballot), the preference should go to those who are known in the community,’’he said.

He said people should pick who they know out of the seven and if boxes remained blank it would not void the vote.

Mt Sharp said profiles would now be available from the Dingee Bush Nursing Centre, any board member from REDHS and Dingee, as well as at www.redhs.com.au

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