Community gets behind hospital’s plans

Residents are getting behind Castlemaine Health’s public consultation, with lots of ideas and suggestions coming back as the roundtable discussions travel around the shire. The consultation site is proving the most popular way to submit a survey and post ideas for change.

The three-month consultation includes 10 town hall visits. The schedule kicked off at the Chewton Town Hall and representatives from the executive team, board and community consultation committee have now also visited communities in Elphinstone and Guildford to hear their views.

Chief Executive Officer Ian Fisher said: “We’ve had some very enlightening and useful discussions at those meetings, and we’ve been delighted to have people coming along to talk with us about their ideas for developing a health service for the future.”

A local resident who attended one of the community roundtables said: “There are huge accessibility issues for patients and families at the hospital. It’s made worse because people who come to hospitals are often already stressed or in pain. It just doesn’t work as a hospital or aged care facility.”

Opinions about whether aged care and hospitals should be located together have been mixed. While some residents feel that aged care should be sited in the community and feel more ‘part of it’, others feel that separating aged care and the hospital would not benefit older residents because patient transfers between the two would be made more difficult and stressful.

Discussions at the sessions have also explored ‘health’ as a continuum that includes wellness, health in and of the community, and hospital and aged care. Mental health and the importance of good, local mental health services for young and older people has also been a popular topic.

The views and ideas put forward as part of the consultation will form part of a report to government in September recommending redevelopment of Castlemaine Health.

Castlemaine Health Chair Carolyn Wallace said: “Whenever a community is able to demonstrate need and benefit, and strong support, generally the funding follows. We want our community to help us build a strong evidence-based case for new facilities by getting involved. Fill out a survey or come to one of our discussions. Your opinions count.”

Castlemaine Health is considering three main options for a fully modern health service. Each option includes a new hospital and aged care accommodation but to make sure they get the mix right, they’re asking the community whether there are other services that might be needed in the future. They’re also interested to hear local views on where these services should be located.

To find out more about the issues and options, put forward your views and nominate a local event to attend, visit

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