The Minister for Health, David Davis, has released the key findings of an independent review of Ramsay Health Care's delivery of health services in Mildura.
"This report makes it clear that Mildura Base Hospital is providing an acceptable level of service, consistent with, and in some instances better than, other sub-regional hospitals in Victoria," Mr Davis said today.
"The Victorian Coalition Government commissioned a review to be better informed about the performance of our private sector partners who operate the hospital.
"This was done before our negotiations with them about an extension of the term of the Mildura Base Hospital contract.
"These negotiations are a long way from finalisation and my comments today do not pre-empt or anticipate the Coalition Government's eventual decision.
"We have to fully consider past performance, the acceptability of contract changes that both parties will be seeking and the value for money achieved by the government and the community before a decision can be made," Mr Davis said.
Mr. Davis said that the Service Agreement between Ramsay and the Department of Health has been in place for 10 years and is a document of almost 300 pages with more than 460 individual service requirements.
"The continuing relevance of these requirements after 10 years, and their consistency with the requirements we place on other similar sized public hospitals who receive similar levels of funding were assessed by the consultants," Mr Davis said.
"Ramsays service delivery was judged to be fully, or substantially, compliant with 93 per cent of these requirements," Mr Davis said.
In addition the consultants found that:
- More than 80 per cent of public hospital admissions of people from the Sunraysia catchment are admissions to the Mildura Base Hospital. This is a higher percentage than achieved by other Victorian hospitals of a similar size and function. It is consistent with expectations given the remoteness of the Sunraysia region;
- Mildura Base has generally provided the number of services, and met the service targets, for which it has been paid under the Service Agreement; and
- Mildura Base Hospital has systems and processes in place to manage risks and improve the standards of services provided in keeping with contemporary expectations.
"In summary, the hospital is providing a reasonable range and level of services to meet a good proportion of the local population needs," Mr Davis said.
"However, one major area requiring improvement is in the waiting times for Emergency Department attendances.
"We expect this to be addressed through the State Government funding of $7 million which will enable expansion of the Emergency Department capacity at the hospital.
Mr Davis said he anticipated that the publication of the report would put straight the record about the hospital's performance and address concerns that had been expressed in the Mildura community.