Community Engagement

Healthcare for the communities of Mount Alexander

Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine Health have worked together for 42 years to deliver complete healthcare and wellbeing services across the communities of Mount Alexander.

We share a CEO, workforce and many services and are always looking for other ways we can collaborate for the benefit of all.

Over the last few months, we have started making changes, big changes, to the way we deliver healthcare in this region. We believe that together we can deliver better healthcare, closer to home and enhance services in our region, now and into the future.

With strong support from hospital staff, we changed the way we deliver urgent care at Maldon Hospital. CHIRP Community Health also integrated with Castlemaine Health, which will ensure more equitable access to community health and wellbeing programs to the communities of Mount Alexander.

We now want to make sure Maldon Hospital can continue to build on its proud 161-year history of care in Maldon, with the same name, same historic building and connection to the community.

It’s time to build on this collaboration – in fact, it’s overdue. We are acting to make our health resources work better for everyone and building on our long history of close cooperation.

Now is the time to build on the collaboration of these two health services to:

  • Provide more training and development opportunities for our staff
  • Redirect resources and use them in different ways in areas that need it most
  • Enhance Maldon Hospital’s provision of allied health, primary care and aged care
  • Add services requested by the community and local medical staff.

We have an idea of what a new unified service could look like, but we need to hear from the communities of Mount Alexander so we can respond and plan for a shared future.

Change will only happen if the boards are in agreement, if community benefit is assured, and if the State Government accepts the boards’ recommendations.

We believe it’s important to work together now, to involve staff, patients, stakeholders and communities in planning for better regional health and wellbeing in the communities of Mount Alexander.

Have your say

There are many different ways to get involved and give us your feedback, which we’ll use to help identify what’s important to you and the areas to focus on.

  • Fill out our community survey
  • Attend an event in person:
    – Sunday, 14 November outside the IGA/Maldon Butchers
    – 12,15 or 19 November at Maldon Hospital (email communities@maldhosp.vic.gov.au or call 5475200 to RSVP or just drop in on the day)

For more information see our infographic and media release.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is this happening?

Castlemaine Health and Maldon Hospital have worked together for 42 years in Mount Alexander. Over the last few months, we have started making changes to the way we deliver healthcare in this region.

These have been motivated by demand from patients and residents, changes in the Mount Alexander demographic, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the implications of two health Royal Commissions and reassessing how we allocate resources.

Now is the time to build on this collaboration – in fact, it’s overdue. Our boards have jointly agreed to explore a voluntary amalgamation we believe would deliver better health services for the communities of Mount Alexander, and secure Maldon Hospital in its current form for generations to come. The Boards will now commission a proposal that will examine the potential benefits of unification.

2. What is a voluntary amalgamation?

The Health Services Act (1988) requires any amalgamation of health services in Victoria to be voluntary and agreed between boards.

It is a requirement of the Health Services Act 1988 for any voluntary amalgamation to result in the provision of better health services in Victoria or is otherwise in the public interest. The Minister for Health can only approve a voluntary amalgamation, on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Health, if these requirements are met.

3. What is the process from here?

The boards of Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine Health have agreed to be pre-emptive and act now to develop a proposal to explore the potential benefits of coming together as one health service.

While we see this as the most likely outcome, this change will only happen if the boards are in agreement, if community benefit is assured, and if the State Government accepts the boards’ recommendations.

We are going to work together now, to involve staff, patients, stakeholders and communities in planning for better regional health and wellbeing in the communities of Mount Alexander.

In early December, we will present back to the community with what we’ve heard. This community feedback will also help inform the proposal, which if endorsed by both boards, will be submitted to the Department of Health by the end of the year.

4. How is “community benefit” defined when deciding what happens next?

Any voluntary amalgamation needs to deliver a net improvement to the provision of services for the communities served by each health service.

The Health Services Act (1988) requires any amalgamation of health services in Victoria to be voluntary and agreed between boards.

It is a requirement of the Health Services Act 1988 for any voluntary amalgamation to result in the provision of better health services in Victoria or is otherwise in the public interest. The Minister for Health can only approve a voluntary amalgamation, on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Health, if these requirements are met.

5. We love our local hospital, it’s a part of our community. Will we lose our identity if we amalgamate?

No. Whatever happens in this process, we can guarantee that Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine Health will remain here under their current names in the future.

A new entity would ensure local fundraising for each health service will go directly to that local health service. Volunteers will be recruited and work locally, just like they are now.

6. Will there be loss of services in my area?

Definitely not. There will be no loss of services at either of the healthcare services. Our proposal is driven by a desire to improve the breadth, accessibility, quality and sustainability of local healthcare in the region.

7. Will staff lose jobs because of this?

No. This is about recruiting and investing in our staff. There will be no reductions in staffing levels and people will be able to work when and where they work today, unless they wish to change.

8. What about governance – will it be diluted in a bigger health service?

Not at all. Any health service would be underpinned by clear governance structures. In fact, a unified service would significantly reduce the time taken to fulfill two separate compliance structures, ensuring better focus on these important issues.

9. Is this being forced upon you by the State Government?

No, we initiated this proposal voluntarily, exploring how we can deliver better health outcomes for our communities. Change will only happen if the boards are in agreement, if community benefit is assured, and if approved by the Minister for Health.

10. Will we lose our board? How can you ensure local representation?

Should we come together, it is correct to say that there would only be one board. Local representation on the board for both communities would be strongly recommended to the Minister for Health, and community advisory committees in Maldon and Castlemaine would be mandatory.

11. Why is this happening now?

We recognise our people are fatigued and stressed as COVID-19 has tested us in ways we’ve never been tested before. We’ve learned more about the power of collaboration and partnerships with our neighbours through managing the demands of COVID-19. Through this first-hand experience, we know there are better ways to do regional health.

This is why we are embarking on this process, to explore ways we can meet the challenges we share head-on, and how we meet the future demand and needs of the communities of Mount Alexander.

12. How can I have my say?

Members of the community can have their say on this page that will track and report on the process and receive community feedback. We’ve created a community survey for everyone to have their say. Please take the time to fill it out and let us know what’s important to you.

Keep a close eye on local media, subscribe to email updates, or get in touch by email, phone or writing.

  • Call: 03 5475 2000
  • Email: communities@maldhosp.vic.gov.au
  • Post: 1 Chapel St North, Maldon, Vic 3463
  • Subscribe to our newsletter by filling in the form below to stay up to date on the latest information via our website or call us.

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