Dr Leanne Beagley, chief executive of Western Victoria PHN.

Funding to improve after-hours care

June 12, 2019 BY

AFTER-hours health services in the Otway and Surf Coast areas will be improved through a $40,000 investment.

Western Victoria Primary Health Network (PHN) has granted Lorne Community Hospital and Otway Health $20,000 each to implement innovative projects for improving the community’s access to after hours health care.

The network’s chief executive officer Dr Leanne Beagley said the two local health services were among four agencies to receive funding as part of Western Victoria PHN’s 2019 After Hours Collaborative Innovation Grants program.

Dr Beagley congratulated Lorne Community Hospital and Otway Health on their successful funding applications with the grants going toward initiatives to support expanded use of Nurse Practitioner, GP Registrars and Rural and Isolated Practice Endorsed Registered Nurses in the region to address after hours health care needs.

“Reliance on state-funded services such as hospital emergency departments for after-hours care is unsustainable. Therefore, innovative ideas such as that presented by Lorne Community Hospital and Otway Health will go a long way to meeting community demand for after-hours support,” Dr Beagley said.

Lorne Community Hospital and Otway Health chief executive officer Kate Gillan said after hours care in rural communities was of vital importance due to their geographical isolation.

“It is also one of the most difficult areas to manage due to workforce challenges for rural health organisations. Lorne Community Hospital and Otway Health are pleased to be partnering with Western Victoria PHN in the after-hours initiatives.

“Together we plan to pilot innovative alternatives and collate all the learnings from all our experience over the years. We hope to increase options and increase sustainability for our rural communities into the future.”

Dr Beagley said other services in western Victoria receiving funding as part of 2019 grants program included Hepburn Health Service and Wimmera Health Care Group.

“Western Victoria PHN is impressed with the high level of thought and work invested by local health services in identifying initiatives to improve access to health services in our region.”