Originally written by IAN LEWIS
HEALTH Minister Daniel Andrews made a surprise visit to Casterton on Friday to inspect new state-of-the-art x-ray equipment and medical programs at the Casterton Memorial Hospital.
The new equipment was part of a $330,000 package from the government designed to improve access to specialist diagnosis and other much-needed services and equipment.
While at the hospital, Mr Andrews inspected the new x-ray equipment which can be used by hospital staff to send patients’ information to specialists who operate out of other towns and cities, meaning Casterton patients no longer have to go to Hamilton or Warrnambool for specialised x-rays.
The equipment is connected to the internet by high-speed broadband and pictures can be accessed by specialists and doctors all over the country.
Mr Andrews also took time to meet some of the residents in Glenelg House who take advantage of the Positive Links program.
Volunteers are also a major player in the program which aims to help residents learn new skills and gain self-confidence.
More than 15 residents are involved in the program along with at least staff members and a countless volunteers. Some of the residents have unearthed talent with the paint brush and have produced some remarkable art works, while others make tree guards and other such items for use in the public domain.
Mr Andrews was quite impressed with some of the artwork and took some time out from his official tour to chat with a number of residents and watch them work on several projects.
“The Casterton Memorial Hospital received $234,600 for equipment and medical programs,” Mr Andrews said.
“A further $100,000 was made available for the upgrade of the general services area, which incorporates the hospital’s kitchen, laundry and stores area.”
The minister said $85,000 from the Targeted Equipment Program went towards the new x-ray equipment.
The department also provided a new community bus at a cost of $92,600; $32,000 to support a Positive Links residential program at Glenelg House; and $25,000 as an infrastructure grant for new water tanks.
“The facilities will enhance Casterton’s ability to provide services locally, saving patients the need to travel to Hamilton, Warrnambool or Melbourne,” Mr Andrews said.
“This upgrade was a priority for the hospital and will improve safety standards and general workflow for hospital staff.
Targeted equipment funding enables Victorian hospitals to stay at the forefront of new technology to ensure they continue to provide the best possible care to patients, close to where they live.”
The Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said the Casterton memorial Hospital would receive $3.1 million in acute funding this financial year, which is 97.6 per cent more than what it received 10 years ago.