Kilmore District Health, KDH, and Northern Health are now a united, amalgamated service as of Wednesday.
Plans are underway for more specialist services to be offered at Kilmore with services such as increased maternity and allied health services to start early next year.
Northern Health has also committed to introducing a paediatric outpatient service at KDH, which will run from the existing outpatient consulting rooms.
Patients will be referred to Northern Health in the first instance and then be allocated appointments at one of Northern Health’s campuses based on where the patient lives.
Residents of Kilmore and surrounding areas will be seen in Kilmore – with the overall aim is to provide services closer to home.
Alongside paediatric improvements, Northern Health aim to provide greater choice for parents about where their baby is born and existing maternity services at KDH – including GP obstetricians and consultant obstetricians – will continue operating and strengthening according to demand.
There will be no immediate change to Kilmore’s Urgent Care Centre, with Northern Health aiming to have medical staff available everyday from 10am to 10pm, however Northern Heath has acknowledged sometimes this is not possible.
For an emergency, the current practice of referring patients to a larger emergency department for assessment and treatment will continue.
For non-life threatening emergencies, Kilmore and surrounding residents can access the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department run by Northern Health.
Emergency doctors and nurses can assess cases via video link and provide appropriate health care advice or arrange referrals for follow-up care, from the person’s home.
KDH interim chief executive Jennifer Gilham said the amalgamation expanded services available for the Kilmore and surrounding communities.
“This amalgamation will strengthen the already successful partnership that exists between Kilmore District Health and Northern Health, and enable an expansion of the services and healthcare options available to our growing community,” she said.
“This will happen over time as well explore synergies and consolidate based on the strengths that are unique to each of the health services.
“Moreover, by providing our staff with greater flexibility and more options, including further education and greater career opportunities, the community overall will benefit from increased skillsets, experience and knowledge.”
Although KDH has become a campus of Northern Health, the board reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining the local name and identity for KDH, with the amalgamation focusing on providing greater access to the specialist services needed by residents of Kilmore and surrounding areas.
Northern Health has committed to no reduction in staffing levels because of the amalgamation with staff able to continue working where and when they currently work.