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Meeting in support of Alexandra’s hospital

Meeting in support of Alexandra's hospital

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Jul 3, 2024

ALEXANDRA and district residents turned out in force to the Hands Off Alexandra Hospital meeting, held at the Alexandra Shire Hall on the morning of Saturday, June 29.

The hall was filled to capacity, with some watching on from the foyer or listening in from outside.

The meeting was also broadcast on UGFM.

Andrew Embling acted as emcee for the event, commenting that every town needs their hospital and that no changes are needed to the board or any closures.

Mayor Damien Gallagher was the first speaker to address the audience.

He commented on the end of the timber industry, the impact of the economy on local businesses, banks closing, potential changes to state forests in the shire, and now the challenges facing the hospital.

He also spoke about the various health issues facing the residents of the shire, and how greater investment in healthcare in the shire is needed.

He compared the situation to the amalgamation of the ski fields, with the smaller mountains such as Lake Mountain losing out to the larger mountains.

Lake Mountain is now closed two days each week. “Small stakeholders don’t win in amalgamations,” he said.

He also commented on how Murrindindi Shire is often overlooked and that the community is often left to address the disadvantage.

He said that he met with the Minister for Health earlier in the week, and commented that he is concerned as he can’t imagine that there will be good health outcomes from the proposed changes.

Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish said that the full plan is not yet known and has been calling on the Minister for Health to provide the information.

She was also concerned about how the hospital’s staff, CEO and board can’t speak out on the situation.

She said that many hospitals are already on a shoestring, and noted that costs keep increasing.

She added that local staff members are certainly not going overseas for training. She questioned how far people will have to travel for specialist appointments under the proposed changes, and was worried that local decisions won’t be made locally.

“Rallies like this make a difference,” she said, noting that there have already been rallies held in Mansfield and Yea.

Shadow Minister for Health Georgie Crozier said that country hospitals are part of the heart and soul of small towns, mentioning health emergencies………

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