Program administrator in rural health from the Department of health and Human Services John Worters chats with acting Gippsland Health Service CEO Vicki Farthing and GSHS President Alex Aeschlimann, right, after the annual meeting last Thursday. M124917

President of the Gippsland Southern Health Service, Alex Aeschlimann, reports on another busy year of development for the service which operates the Leongatha and Korumburra hospitals featuring the completion of the $4.1 million Integrated Primary Care Centre at the Leongatha campus. M104917

THE development of a wonderful new hospital at Leongatha by the Gippsland Southern Health Service did not come without its share of upheaval, not the least of which was an impact on the financial stability of the health service.
But over the past three years, the health service has been able get its balance sheet back on an even keel. After registering a concerning operating loss of $1.363 million in 2015 and a small but significant profit in 2016, it returned a pleasing surplus of $1.187 million this year, as announced by hospital treasurer Peter Siggins at last week’s annual general meeting.
The improved result, he said, came from an increase in revenue of 9 per cent (up from $31.7m to $34.1m), against rising costs of 5 per cent (up from $33.5m to $35.3m), a better result in aged care and support via the private partnerships program.
He said the introduction of two 198kW solar panel systems at Korumburra and Leongatha hospitals had saved $80,000 a year in the face of dramatically increasing energy costs.
GSHS President Alex Aeschlimann also spoke at the annual meeting saying the health service was excited about the achievements of the past 12 months including the implementation of Telehealth support at the Urgent Care centres at both Leongatha and Korumburra, the completion of the $4.1 million Integrated Primary Care Centre at Leongatha and the completion of the Gippsland South Coast Clinical Services Plan, in collaboration with Bass Coast Health and South Gippsland Hospital at Foster which, he said, would “provide a roadmap to significantly transform and enhance the health access and outcomes of communities within the South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires”.
“We have received funding to employ a project officer who will work on the implementation of that plan in Bass Coast and South Gippsland,” Mr Aeschlimann said.
He said the introduction of the Telehealth program not only supported better outcomes for patients coming to Urgent Care, and the doctors and nursing staff, but was also a vehicle for closer cooperation between partnering hospitals at Latrobe Regional, Yarram and Foster.
Mr Aeschlimann thanked staff for their commitment and care, his fellow board members and also the health services’ volunteers numbering in excess of 100.
Acting CEO, in the absence of Mark Johnson due to ill health, Vicki Farthing provided a comprehensive presentation on the success of the Telehealth project.