IF residents take care of their own health, the whole community could reap the benefits, according to Bendigo Health.
The organisation is looking to improve the health of residents to reduce the strain placed on medical services.
A five year-plan aimed at improving preventative health outcomes was released yesterday.
Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said the plan aimed to improve the health of residents before they needed urgent care.
“It does rely on people taking responsibility for their own health,” he said.
“We see the impact of smoking, obesity, poor health choices on a daily basis (and) alcoholism in the emergency department.
“And we don’t want it to be those incidents that lead to people changing their lifestyle, because often the damage is already done.
“We’d like to see them come on board a lot earlier. It’s our job now to convince them and that’s the task ahead.”
Other key goals listed in the Bendigo Health Strategic Plan 2013-2018 include empowering staff and volunteers to care for the community, working with other organisations and operating safely and sustainably.
Bendigo Health chairman Michael Langdon said working with other health providers was particularly important. “We can’t do that by ourselves,” he said.
“We need to work with all the other regional providers in the region like Echuca Hospital, Rochester Hospital, Castlemaine’s new theatre, all the different health providers so we can share resources with them to better improve healthcare provision across our region.”
Mr Langdon and Mr Mulder said while the plan had now been created, further work was needed to decide how to implement it.