TWO Castlemaine organisations are one step closer to integrating after the health minister formally approved the process.
Castlemaine Health and CHIRP Community Health have been working together for the past year to incorporate their services in the Mount Alexander Shire.
An independent review, staff, partner organisations, and the broader community have supported the plan to merge the two services.
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The Castlemaine Health and CHIRP boards formally endorsed the merger at their meetings in June.
The approval from the Minister for Health marked the last formal step before integration on October 1.
"The case for integration couldn't be more compelling," Castlemaine Health board chair Peggy Ronnau said. "We are better together.
"With this decision, we're now just months away from a shared future where our unique people, identities and strengths work as one to deliver the very best community health services around."
Ms Ronnau said there would not be any changes to the services that clients received.
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Community health services currently delivered from CHIRP's premises on Mostyn Street would continue, as would the services being delivered in the community and at Castlemaine Health.
"Integration is not a bolt-on," CHIRP chair Lexi Randall-L'Estrange said. "Both organisations are looking at what we do and how we do it.
"We're making sure that we're all ready to flex in the right direction so that come October 1 the two parts come together to make a whole.
"We know from community feedback that people value easy access and we know we can't deliver good community health services without it.
"While there is no easy answer to the question of location, we are exploring options that let us be flexible about what we do and how we do it."
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