Statement by Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson
Senator Kay Patterson read a report in a Melbourne newspaper today that an elderly patient at the Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital is facing being moved because the hospital is closing.
7 May 2002
Statement by Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay PattersonI read a report in a Melbourne newspaper today that an elderly patient at the Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital is facing being moved because the hospital is closing.
This is not correct. Mrs Peacock will remain at the Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital. She will have access to the care that she needs for as long as she needs.
When an agreement was signed with the management committee of the Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital on May 28 to change the operation of the facility to ensure its long-term viability and continue to meet the health care needs of the local residents, I instructed my Department to take steps to ensure that Mrs Peacock was able to remain at the hospital and to receive care and treatment.
There is no need for nurses to volunteer to look after Mrs Peacock for no pay. The Federal Government will ensure that Mrs Peacock is cared for by the professional staff at the facility at Walwa.
I acknowledge and admire the professionalism and dedication of the staff at the Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital who are caring for Mrs Peacock and other patients.
The Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital is undergoing a change to ensure that it can continue to operate and cater for local health needs. Unfortunately, the hospital in its current configuration is not financially viable. Its private acute bed-based services will cease.
The Commonwealth gave the hospital $38,000 for a consultant to work with the local community and develop alternatives to ensure its viability as a health-care facility.
On May 28, the board of the hospital and community representatives agreed that the Walwa facility could best serve its community's health care needs as a primary health care centre. It will have an emergency facility to ensure that injured patients are stabilised before being transferred to the most appropriate local hospital.
During this transition phase, the patients and staff of the Walwa facility can be confident that the Federal Government will ensure that the needs of patients are paramount.
An agreement is being prepared to give the Walwa Bush Nursing Hospital $11,000 in funding this month to cover transitional costs. This will include support such as counselling for patients, staff and community to ease the anxiety about the change of function at the facility.
Mrs Peacock can be confident of the Government's commitment to ensure she is looked after.
I understand that MBF, which insures Mrs Peacock, remains fully committed to paying for her acute care and will give an extra $10,000 to help care for Mrs Peacock.
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