WIMMERA Health Care Group has quashed rumours that Kurrajong Lodge in Horsham will close.

Chief executive Chris Scott said the group was aware of rumours about the hostel’s future but there were no plans to close the centre.

He said Wimmera Health Care Group would complete a review of its services in Horsham across acute, community and residential aged care areas.

“We have engaged Katrina Perroud, who is our quality manager for aged care. She has a long history in the aged care sector and a great deal of experience and knowledge,” he said.

“She will assist in reviewing the residential aged care services we provide, given the fiscal environment we are in and the new Commonwealth reform package, Living Longer, Living Better.

“There are a whole lot of things in there about people staying home longer, people being supported in the community longer, having choices and being able to make decisions on the services they want.

“The big message is that we are not closing Kurrajong Lodge and we are not sacking people.”

Mr Scott said the review was about being responsible and responding to the strategic direction the health group’s board wanted to take.

“It is about making sure the services we are delivering are not duplicated elsewhere and that we provide the best quality service for the money the community is paying,” he said.

“There are other service providers out there in the marketplace and it is a changing environment.”

Clinical services director Don McRae said the group would engage aged care residents in the review process.

“We will be talking about their needs. They are our major priority and making sure their well-being is paramount and that we can see what their needs are and what options they might like to take,” he said.

Mrs Perroud said consultation with residents was a primary concern.

“We had a meeting with the residents yesterday to talk about the review and how it will be done, give them surety and encourage them to approach us if they have any questions,” she said.

“We will also be having a meeting with relatives next week.”

Mr Scott said the group hoped to complete the review by the end of December.

“That is so we are in a position by the end of the calendar year to have a forensic analysis and a business case to take us forward and see where we need to drive the organisation,” he said.

“That basically covers off on all the services we provide out of Wimmera Base Hospital.

“It is us preparing for the future, looking over the horizon and saying ‘where do we need to be in the next three to five years?’

“That will create anxieties for people in aged care and what we are trying to do is allay those fears and show that it is really about doing our homework, finding out what the community’s needs are and what services we can provide most efficiently with the resources we have available.”

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