Your key questions

No, the health services initiated this proposal voluntarily so they can deliver better health outcomes for our communities. The proposal is with the Department of Health for consideration.

Definitely not. There will be no loss of services at any of the health care services. Our proposal is driven by a desire to improve the breadth, accessibility, quality and sustainability of local health care in the region.

The proposed overarching entity can enable joined-up planning, to consider services currently delivered and work through any gaps. Our main objective is to deliver services closer to home, reducing the need for travel when clinically appropriate to do so.

Positive. The proposed overarching entity can increase capacity to provide high quality care in all services, enhancing access to aged care in Edenhope, Stawell and Horsham.

There will be no loss of services at any of the health care services forming the new entity. Our goal is growth and to increase community services over time.

The boards of Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital, Stawell Regional Health, Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health Services considered a full range of different options.

This extensive process included defining shared objectives, extensive engagement with patients, residents, clients, staff and community as well as a comprehensive examination of the full implications of each option.

What it came down to though is there are a wide range of benefits to closer collaboration across the four health services and we believe the best way to achieve this is to join together to create a new, united health service for the region.

Our proposal is driven by a desire to greatly improve the breadth, accessibility, quality and sustainability of local health care and the opportunities for local healthcare workers. This should also reduce the growing demand on services in Ballarat.

Currently patients in Stawell, Edenhope and Horsham are travelling to Ballarat to receive care they can’t receive locally. Ballarat Health Services are admitting more than 300 patients from the Wimmera region and five per cent more patients from Northern Grampians, than five years before. As the largest health service coming together in the proposal, Ballarat is able to share their resources and learning programs with the other health services, helping them to deliver more care closer to home.

The decline in activity at Horsham, Edenhope and Stawell reduces opportunities for the workforce to develop and maintain specialist or advanced knowledge and develop skills. By joining together across the four organisations, we can expect greater opportunities for both staff and the users of our services.

Together, the four health services will be one large employer, able to attract and sustain a larger workforce pool, especially for specialist roles. It will also reduce the reliance on temporary staff and locums in regional and rural communities, leading to greater workforce stability.

Service planning defines the core services to be delivered to the community – alongside ancillary or other support services – within a prescribed timeframe. The service plan for this new health service will be done next year. 

The service plan must:

  • Identify community or state needs for designated services, service gaps and / or surpluses, for a period of five to ten years.
  • Improve quality of designated services for clients.
  • Reorient services to better meet service gaps
  • Provide the right level and mix of services to meet assessed community needs in a cost effective and coordinated manner.
  • Increase accessibility and better provide services to meet the catchment needs.
  • Deliver services that are safe and fit for purpose.


The service plan needs to address these objectives in consultation with service providers (both public and private), community members and departmental representatives. It is vital that in setting objectives for the relevant organisations, they can be evaluated and measured in terms of achieving projected changes in services to clients, service structure and profile.

This is about investing in people and supporting and growing our workforce. Should the proposal proceed, there is a commitment to explore how we can invest in careers, with no changes to staff conditions. The proposal can find ways to attract and sustain a larger workforce pools, especially for specialist clinical roles and reduce the reliance on temporary staff and locums. We want to invest in our people, supporting a strong medical and clinical workforce, as we grow in the future.

The proposal means staff can have opportunities to work in their town if they choose or go elsewhere. The choice is up to them.

Should the proposal be approved, local input will be important. It is proposed that there be at least one board member from each current health service appointed to the new board.

We anticipate a positive impact. The proposal will allow us to invest in local services and career opportunities in the community. Less people travelling unnecessarily for treatment will mean more people staying in towns, which will offer a direct benefit to the local economy.

Yes. The proposed new entity ensures local fundraising for each health services can go directly to that local health service. Volunteers can be recruited and work locally, just like they do now.

One of the goals of the new service is to increase our overall capacity and therefore be able to recruit more specialists, including in the mental health space.  Being able to offer specialists more work, because we are working together, creates an opportunity for us to recruit staff for more full-time positions across the region, which has been a barrier to our ability to recruit to our roles in the past. Career opportunities will be expanded and the ability to share resources across the health services will enable greater collaboration and increased support, and enhanced training and development.

No, the opposite. Through the new health service local patients will see the capability of this service increase as we bolster it with the support from the other health services and improve our attractiveness as an employer for the medical workforce. There’s also opportunity to share other services with Stawell and Edenhope, meaning we can possibly increase capacity at the Emergency Department, not reduce it.

No services will be reduced. This is about investing in services.

A proposed overarching entity will mean undertaking joined-up planning, looking at all services currently delivered and understand the gaps the current health system – all for the first time. Our main objective is to deliver services close to home, so we want to see how we can reduce the travel people currently have to undertake to access care.

This proposal is about securing health services into the future. This will not only enhance service provision, and invest in our workforce, but will further ensure sustainable delivery of healthcare across our region.

Your questions answered

Each fortnight, Care For Our Region will address key questions raised by local communities in the form of a fact sheet.

Please view the fact sheets to date below.

Community Representation and Governance
13 October 2021
View here
Aged Care
28 September 2021
View here
Service Provision
27 August 2021
View here
Economic Benefits
11 August 2021
View here
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We want to hear from you – our community – so we can bring services to the area that meet the health needs of individuals and families in the region.

We’ll work closely with patients, residents, staff and groups in each local community to develop this exciting and much needed plan for the future, while retaining local ownership and identity.