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GROUNDHOG DAY FOR NW HEALTH? The State’s Clinical Services Plan Issues Paper has proposed a ‘service-by-service analysis’ of NW hospital campuses to determine how specific services should be provided. It also calls for better integration of acute public, private, primary and community-based services to provide a comprehensive range of services for the region as a whole. This is exactly what the Richardson Report recommended, what the Cradle Coast Authority and its partners called for and what the State Government agreed to, nearly three years ago. The Drever Report, released by the Authority last Friday, was as far as that previous attempt got before being overtaken by the statewide plan that has now called for the same work to be done. The Authority supports the need for statewide planning, and the principles proposed to further define this region’s role in a statewide system, but does not want history to repeat itself. In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray is a cynical big-city reporter condemned to relive a day in the life of a small rural town until he gets to know the local people and the things they care about. People in this rural region care that the health services they need will be there when they need them. The Authority supports the statewide plan, but does not want another prescription for specialist services at NW hospitals that fails to include the other services needed to make them work. As Richardson, Drever and now Heather Wellington have clearly said, acute hospital services need to be integrated with community-based, transport and GP services in a seamless regional system. Three years ago, the State established the one hospital, two-campus model, but stopped there. It was not part of a region-wide system and did not have built-in flexibility to deal with changing needs. Before it reallocates roles across hospitals on the Coast, the Authority wants the State Government to reconsider its proposal for a ‘whole of region’ approach, and a regional health management structure. The Drever Report gives examples of what needs to be done, and what a regional model might look like, but more work is needed. The Authority still has the $50 000 it put up three years ago to help find the answers, and the offer still stands if the State commits to doing the job properly this time. In the meantime, day-to-day decisions about hospital services in the region, including location of staff and services, should left to the CEO and clinical directors responsible for the safe delivery of those services. They are the ones qualified to make on-ground decisions in our collective interests. We must support them. (At the end of Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character left the town as a local hero)

Media enquiries

Roger Jaensch

6431 6285, 0438 316 285


This is exactly what the Richardson Report recommended, what the Cradle Coast Authority and its partners called for and what the State Gover...