The Andrews Labor Government must release the Hillis Report into Portland District Health and come clean on its future plans for healthcare in the Portland region.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell raised the issue in Victorian Parliament on Tuesday, saying the Portland community needs transparency from the government about the future of Portland hospital and a guarantee services will not be closed or amalgamated.
“The Hillis report clearly states amalgamation is not the answer for Portland, but it seems clear that is what the government is intending to do,” Ms Britnell told Parliament.
“There always needs to be co-operation between health organisations, the sharing of expertise and utilisation of services, but that is very, very different to amalgamation.”
Ms Britnell said the “damning” Hillis report showed the government had not implemented necessary changes at PDH and had completely ignored recommendations from previous reviews.
“Portland District Health can’t do it on its own, and the (Hillis) report makes this clear,” she said.
“It needs the government to take the lead.”
Ms Britnell told parliament there was significant angst in the Portland community about the future of the hospital and the government’s intentions.
“I am in no way criticising the fantastic staff at the hospital – the nurses, doctors and specialists – whose focus is always on getting the best health outcomes for the people of the Portland region,” she said.
“But it’s quite clear that the government is not interested in those same health outcomes and is prepared to leave Portland out on a limb.”
Ms Britnell last year called on the Minister for Health to categorically rule out merging Portland District Health with another health service after board appointments and a government health service plan indicated there was an amalgamation agenda.
She said Portland locals were sidelined from the new board, with six of the nine new appointments made by the Minister coming from outside the region.
In addition, the Minister did not rule out amalgamation when pressed by Ms Britnell in Question Time last year.