PLANS to save emergency care at the Colac hospital will be laid on the table next month after a meeting of doctors, administrators and community members on Monday night.
Overnight urgent care at Colac Area Health (CAH) had been earmarked for closure last Friday but was saved by an 11th-hour rescue package from Barwon Medicare Local (BML).
On Thursday the BML board revealed it would pump $75,000 into the hospital’s coffers, offsetting the closure for three months and allowing the breathing space to find alternatives.
The move followed a mass gathering of 800 Colac and district residents, angry over the decision to leave the town with just a single ambulance to respond to overnight emergencies.
Both CAH and BML met with doctors and community members at a 90-minute meeting on Monday night to seek ways to find savings.
BML chief executive Jason Trethowan said no options had yet been revealed.
“It’s too early to talk about solutions. The meeting was about getting everyone on the same page,” Mr Trethowan said.
“The end of March is the timeline for a recommendation to go to the Colac Area Health board.”
CAH still has to find $255,000 in its budget as a result of federal health cuts last year.
“That’s the issue CAH have had a real challenge with. We’d like to look at other measures but in the end we need urgent care to stay open,” Mr Trethowan said.
The service also lost $1 million, according to its 2012 annual report.
The steering committee will meet again next Monday.
Colac Area Health was approached for comment but did not respond by deadline yesterday.