Originally written by JAN LEISHMAN
COLERAINE District Health Services is preparing to join Western District Health Service with the signing of a Heads of Agreement to work towards a formal partnership from July 1 next year.
Chief executive of CDHS, Lee Vause, said Coleraine’s board of management would be negotiating with WDHS over the coming months.
She said key aspects of negotiations would include:
Ms Vause said discussions between the two health services had intensified in the past 12 months because of concerns about Coleraine’s long-term viability, especially regarding improvements needed to current buildings.
A Community Advisory Group has been established to continue a process of community consultation with Coleraine’s business association, development association, service clubs, community transport volunteers and others, as well as interested Merino residents.
Ms Vause said the health service’s management was positive about the negotiations.
“It’s been a very open process and is a positive thing for Coleraine,” she said. “It will ensure the longevity of Coleraine (District Health Services).”
WDHS chief executive, Jim Fletcher, said the Heads of Agreement between the boards had been undertaken with a view for forming a formal partnership and to eventually merge on July 1, 2005.
The next step
“Both Western District Health and Coleraine District Health have had an alliance for the past three and a half years and this was the next step,” he said.
“The model is similar to what’s in place at Penshurst. CDHS will retain its own identity, but will be a member of WDHS.”
Mr Fletcher said there would be one Western District Health Service board of management, but Coleraine District Health Service would have its own management committee.
“Certainly another member from Coleraine will be appointed to the WDHS board,” he said.
“The Heads of Agreement was first step in the process and we are now working through the details with the respective agencies and the Department of Human Services.
“It will mean a stronger health service within the Southern Grampians because all agencies will be part of WDHS and will benefit Coleraine with an enhanced range of services and access to services.”