Community needs to lobby for healthcare

July 31st, 2022Community needs to lobby for healthcare

COMMUNITY stalwart Danny Moynihan, pictured, has been involved in three major community drives to get upgrades for the Daylesford Hospital but says the current campaign as the most important. That's because it's been 20 years since a serious site upgrade.

COMMUNITY stalwart Danny Moynihan, pictured, has been involved in three major community drives to get upgrades for the Daylesford Hospital but says the current campaign as the most important.
That’s because it’s been 20 years since a serious site upgrade.
The 2022 Hepburn Shire Citizen of the Year said he knew firsthand the value in having access to local medical care, having seen up close the kindness and great medical support the Daylesford Hospital provided to his family during a very vulnerable time.

But he is concerned that in the absence of a major upgrade, at a cost of $75M, services will be fractured or unavailable and locals will be forced to travel to Ballarat, or be disadvantaged and miss out on timely care.
“The current state government has been in power for 16 of the past 20 years, and while our local population ages and increases, the hospital facilities have been languishing. I’m concerned that locals are being left behind, with only a recent tiny 6 per cent investment in upgrades to date, compared to what we need overall.”
The community raised $100K late last year to fund a master plan under the auspices of Central Highlands Rural Health. The endorsed master plan provides a blueprint for the hospital precinct and future health and wellbeing of Daylesford and surrounding communities. A large capital commitment from the state government is now needed to bring the plan to life.

Hospital users include locals from both the state electorates of Macedon and Ripon, which Danny says will become important closer to the November state election. The Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Committee has lobbied the Liberal Ripon MP Louise Staley, the Labor candidate for Ripon Martha Haylett and Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas MLA to commit to funding a significant capital upgrade. Ms Thomas was recently sworn in as Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services.
Danny says access to great health care should not be a function of postcode. “We’re frustrated that our neighbouring areas of Ballarat, Maryborough and recently St Arnaud are getting significant hospital funding commitments from both major parties, but we keep missing out despite our clear needs.
“Our committee is asking locals to write to Minister Thomas and other key politicians to let them know this is an issue they will vote on at the November state election.”
Danny said a funding allocation to upgrade the operating theatre was obtained last year, separate to the master plan process, but was just 6 per cent of the anticipated total $75M funds required to deliver the master plan.
“Investing in good health starts at home,” Danny says. “We’re calling on Minister Thomas to deliver modern health facilities to her constituents, rather than focusing on large metropolitan or regional centres.”
CHRH will hold a community update on the Master Plan on August 28 from 2.30pm to 4pm at the Daylesford Town Hall. Details: daylesfordhospitalupgradeappeal@org.au.
A Victorian Government spokesperson, on behalf of a question sent to Minister Thomas asking if she was “onboard with the Daylesford Hospital upgrade” said the government had a “strong record of investing in our regional health services”.
“We welcome ongoing discussions with all health services, including Central Highlands Rural Health, on the needs and requirements of the Daylesford community into the future.”
Ripon MP Louise Staley said she supported the community’s efforts in securing the project and had arranged for the Opposition health spokesperson Georgie Crozier, to meet with the committee and herself later this month.
Ripon Labor candidate Martha Haylett said she was pleased to see the Central Highlands Rural Health CEO and Board had applied for funding under the RHIF to get the Daylesford Hospital upgrade under way and was “fully supportive of their application”. Words: Donna Kelly

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