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Northern Health and Kilmore District Health strengthen their partnership

8 August 2023



Northern Health and Kilmore District Health Boards approve potential merger proposal.


Over the past few months, Kilmore District Health and Northern Health have worked together to explore the potential benefits of a better connected health service.


After extensive consultation with staff and the community, the boards of the two health services have endorsed a proposal to formally merge to create a new health service for the northern catchment areas under the Northern Health umbrella. The proposal was supported by a comprehensive business case that assessed the options for voluntary amalgamation.


While the consultation and business case process has taken place independent of government, in accordance with the Health Services Act 1988, the proposal has now been referred to the Secretary of the Department of Health and the Minister for Health for consideration and approval.


The Boards agreed that a unified service would further reinforce the existing partnership between the two health services, address gaps in the availability of specialist services, provide greater opportunities to exchange skills and resources and develop career pathways for staff.


Ms Jennifer Williams, Northern Health Board Chair, said the consultation period was an opportunity to hear about what was most important to staff and the community.


“It is evident that our partnership holds immense benefits, not just for our communities but also our dedicated staff. Undoubtedly, joining the two health services will address the needs of the fastest-growing catchment in Victoria,” Ms Williams said.


Under the proposed new structure, each health service will continue to care for their local communities while exploring new ways of sharing resources, increasing access to specialist services and enhancing career opportunities for staff.


Ms Gillian Leach, Kilmore District Health Board Chair, said the integration will provide local communities with greater access to clinical expertise and options for care closer to home while helping to support and grow the career paths of their valued staff.


"Our proposal puts our patients, staff, and community at the core. We're building on our strong collaboration with Northern Health to bring specialised care closer to the patients’ homes, in a familiar setting with familiar faces. Together, we're shaping a stronger and more accessible future for everyone," Ms Leach stated.


The extensive consultation period highlighted areas of importance to key stakeholders. Should the proposal proceed, Kilmore District Health and Northern Health are committed to:

  • The maintenance of local name and identity for Kilmore District Hospital.

  • There will be no reduction in staffing levels as a direct result of the amalgamation. Staff will continue to work when and where they work today, unless they wish to change.

  • Delivering care closer to home by increasing the ways local residents can access care in their local community and introducing more specialist services, which many Kilmore residents are already accessing at Northern Health.

  • With more young families in the local community, we are committed to introducing a paediatric outpatient service at Kilmore to provide better care for children, closer to home.

  • By strengthening local maternity services, more women will be able to give birth in Kilmore.

  • Access to tertiary care will be streamlined through collaboration and improved communication.

  • Engaging with staff and community to develop an integrated Strategic Plan and Clinical Service Plan within the first 12 months of amalgamation.

  • A positive and sustainable workplace for all. Our health workers are the backbone of care. We are committed to providing enhanced training and development opportunities for our staff to develop their careers.

If the proposal is approved by the Minister for Health, Kilmore District Health and Northern Health will work with staff to develop an integrated Strategic Plan and Clinical Service Plan with a shared vision for a sustainable model of care to benefit the northern community well into the future.


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