Diabetes, heart, oral and mental health have been identified as the major health issues faced by Loddon and Gannawarra Shire residents.
A 206-page analysis of the region’s health needs is to be released at the Dingee Bush Nursing Centre today.
Loddon is home to heart attack rates 2.5 times higher than the state average, the analysis found, while dental health conditions are the top potentially preventable condition for hospital admissions in Gannawarra.
The Loddon Gannawarra Health Needs Analysis was created by the Loddon Gannawarra Health Services Executive Network, a joint effort by 12 health and community organisations.
Members include Kerang District Health, Northern District Community Health Services, Cohuna District Health, Mallee District Aboriginal Services, Gannawarra Shire Council, Loddon Shire Council, Southern Mallee Primary Care Partnership, Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership, Boort District Health, Inglewood and Districts Health Services, Dingee Bush Nursing Centre and Murray Primary Health Network.
Kerang District Health chief executive officer and LGHSEN chair Robert Jarman said the document highlighted a need for client-centred and place-based service delivery, to examine gaps and barriers to high quality care, and to determine where services needed to be developed or remodelled.
“Client-centred approaches to service delivery aim to provide greater choice and control over how services are delivered,” he said.
He said the analysis made a number of recommendations about prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery, and health system changes, which the network’s executive officers had endorsed and were committed to implement.
About 54,000 Australians suffer a heart attack each year, according to the Heart Foundation – equal to a heart attack every 10 minutes.
The Victorian Healthcare Association raised concerns about federal funding arrangements for dental care in December, citing poor oral health as a leading cause of avoidable death.
Working together to better health
Hopes for what a network of health and community organisations in the Loddon and Gannawarra shires might be able to achieve are high.
Murray Primary Health Network is one of 12 members of the Loddon Gannawarra Health Services Executive Network.
“Service system reform needs strong, collaborative and well informed partnerships,” Murray PHN chief executive officer Matt Jones said.
“So we are really pleased to be part of this network and working to improve the health and wellbeing of residents.
He said Murray PHN was focused on tackling health inequities in the areas of greatest need.
“Not only to optimise system reforms but to monitor improvement in health outcomes for whole populations,” Mr Jones said.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimated there were as many as 692 potentially avoidable deaths in the organisation’s service area each year.