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Government Update – from Board Chair, Julianne Clift

There has been recent media coverage regarding a couple of sector wide issues – both matters have been reported either together or at around the same time which may be confusing but both deserve further detail.

Both matters represent change in the health sector both in terms of funding and structure. EWHS is always prepared for our organisation and our sector to continuously evolve and change in order to best serve our communities and we are entering a period of more rapid change than usual.

The first matter is finances in public health. Around one third of government money in Victoria goes into health. Demand for funding in health keeps growing but if the State Government keeps putting more money into health, it comes at the expense of other needs like education or roads.

EWHS is only small compared to the rest of the sector but like all Victorian Health Services, we have been asked to do our part in controlling healthcare expenditure. All Victorian Health Services have been asked to submit a financial improvement plan to demonstrate that we’re trying to control costs and over the next three years seek to reduce our costs by around 5%.

We are constantly seeking to contain costs so this request is in line with what we do already as an organisation. For example, at the moment we are working hard to reduce the cost of agency Nursing staff.

EWHS is not submitting a plan that involves the loss of any jobs.

The second and more significant matter involves the development of a Health Services Plan. We can provide the following summary that has been provided to us.



o Option A: Strengthened partnerships -This would see formal relationships established between a Local Health Service Network and a major tertiary hospital to achieve stronger collaboration and connections. It would mean services could have greater access to specialist expertise, teaching, training, education and research.

o Option B: Health service consolidations – This is about creating more formal Local Health Service Networks for each geography to ensure all care needs, from a broken arm to complex trauma are met for their population, and delivered as close to home as possible. The networks would be established based on a range of factors including natural patient flows, geography and transport networks, and population and community characteristics.

Next steps

Q&As – Health Services Plan

What is the process for the Plan’s consideration by government?

Is this all about financial savings?

Will implementation of the Plan result in job losses?

Will implementation of the Plan result in site closures?

This is the information we have at the moment and we will continue to provide any updates that become available.

Julianne Clift

Board Chair

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