ML funds used to keep ED open

The unusual intervention by Geelong-based Barwon ML came as an emergency meeting between Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and her Victorian counterpart David Davis failed to resolve a funding dispute.

Following the federal government’s mid-year budget changes in October, Colac Area Health decided to shut down the area’s only after hours clinic to save $255,000. The closure was to take effect from 1 February.

“There was no clarity regarding how the community could access this care without the Urgent Care Centre being opened,” Barwon CEO Jason Trethowan said.

He said following a community meeting of 1000 people, the Barwon board decided to use $75,000 in company reserves to keep that centre open for another three months.

In that time, Barwon will lead a consultation process involving community, GPs, the area health service and others.

“Barwon Medicare Local cannot assure any specific outcome,