Health services to combine

By Jessica Micallef

A proposal for a Kyneton District Health and Hepburn Health Service merger is a step closer.

Chief executive of the two health services Maree Cuddihy last week announced the proposal for voluntary amalgamation was approved by the two health service boards.

The proposal has since been submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services for review and approval by the state government.

In February, the two services announced they were exploring a potential merger to combine the management and governance of the two organisations under one entity as Central Highlands Rural Health.

Ms Cuddihy said the union would improve the organisations’ capabilities.

“The proposal aims to enhance the capability of the health services to meet the needs of the community,” she said.

“The submission was approved by the boards following extensive community and staff consultation, due diligence assessment and careful consideration for the benefits and issues.”

The services have shared Ms Cuddihy as chief executive for more than two years. She said there would be no reduction in services, staffing or funding. Hospitals and facilities will remain at their current locations in Kyneton, Daylesford, Creswick, Clunes and Trentham.

Kyneton District Health board president Peter Matthews said the proposal focused on delivering a strong health service for the community.

“It will ensure a sustainable and positive future,” he said.