Federal health grant funding secured for Phillip Island

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Bass Coast Health has received $30,000 to provide community education on the range of current services that are available to meet the needs of Phillip Island residents.

Federal Member for Flinders and Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP said this second Federally-funded project will provide information to community members about the results of the Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) initial project recently completed by Bass Coast Health, the Phillip Island Medical and Aged Care Group and Ambulance Victoria.

The stage one project consulted with the community through a number of specific focus groups, and sought the opinions of a specific Community Advisory Group, to develop a Cascade Access Model of Health care for Phillip Island residents.

“One of the key findings of the initial project is that there are significant gaps in people’s awareness of existing services on Phillip Island.” Minister Hunt said.

“Gippsland PHN has appointed lead agency Bass Coast Health to roll out community education about the Cascade Model to the residents of Phillip Island.

“Importantly, the model also identified service gaps and the report has identified a number of potential service options to fill these gaps.

“The model was developed through consultation and collaboration with the Phillip Island community and key stakeholders including Ambulance Victoria and the Medical and Aged Care Group (Cowes Medical Centre),” Minister Hunt said.

Gippsland Primary Health Network Chief Executive, Marianne Shearer, said “the Cascade model provided a clear vision for health care accessibility for all residents and visitors.”

“Phillip Island’s population of 9,400 people swells to around 40,000 during the summer months.

“Importantly, the Cascade Model was developed in collaboration with the community so we could understand and address their concerns around access to health care services

“The adaptability of the model provides short and long-term solutions modifiable to the needs of the community and population fluctuations,” Ms Shearer said.

Bass Coast Health CEO, Ms Jan Child said “Bass Coast Health is very keen to work with the community and all levels of government to look at the best ways to ensure an efficient and sustainable heath care model to support the entire Phillip Island community.

“Working in partnership with Ambulance Victoria and the local General Practitioners, Bass Coast Health consulted widely with the Phillip Island community last year. Analysis from community feedback and statistical data assisted in a sound understanding of what services are available, and what services still need to be developed. This is what we call the Cascade Model.

“A key focus for Bass Coast Health going forward is to ensure the soon to be opened Phillip Island Health Hub, which received funding from both State and Commonwealth Governments, the Warley Trust and Bass Coast Shire, is able to grow the number of services available on the Island. This includes access to a range of medical specialists, other face-to-face services such as mental health and drug and alcohol services, and health programs specifically aimed at supporting older people and people with young children, on the Island.

“The Cascade Model identified future service models for improved 24-hour access by creating a virtual emergency department cubicle on the Island through Telemedicine processes and expanded pharmacy support.” Ms Child said. “Obviously this requires funding and community collaboration however there is significant goodwill among the health care providers to improve the options for Islanders.”

Ms Shearer said Gippsland PHN was now providing a further grant of $30,000 for Bass Coast Health which would assist it to lead an education campaign, raising awareness of the new model as well as how and when to access it.

“Importantly” Jan Child said, “we will continue to actively engage with the Phillip Island community and the Phillip Island Community Advisory Group seeking their advice and recommendations to facilitate locally led health care solutions.“