PORTLAND district residents will have access to a fund that provides financial help in times of medical emergency for a further two years.
The Portland Aluminium Urgent Care Assistance Fund provides immediate support to people who are required to accompany members of their family transferred out of Portland to higher-care hospital facilities.
Through assistance from the fund, a family member or support person can have accommodation and transfers arranged by a Portland District Health representative or apply to be reimbursed to cover those costs.
Portland Aluminium contributes $24,000 annually to the fund.
The fund has been used several times since its introduction in 2010 but some unused money from a previous allocation was used to help buy a new portable ultrasound machine at Portland District Health (PDH).
PDH chief executive officer Chris Giles said the fund was very helpful for keeping families together during times of need.
The fund is available for a parent or guardian of infants and other patients aged under 21 who are transferred to Melbourne or another specialist hospital for inpatient care and patients requiring surgical care following trauma.
Portland Aluminium plant manager Peter Chellis said it was pleased to be able to remove some of the financial stress when families were faced with a serious health crisis.
Ms Giles said the $64,000 portable ultrasound machine bought with surplus money from previous fund allocations was well used.
The machine had also enabled PDH to attract a new trainee sonographer/qualified radiographer to Portland.