Portland District Health has finished one of its more challenging years with a small $32,000 net surplus and high hopes for the future.
However, board chairman Michael Noske criticised the trend for local patients to be referred out of town for procedures that could be delivered safely and more conveniently in Portland hospital.
“This is a situation I hope we can change over the next year,” he said in the annual report tabled in State Parliament last week.
“In many respects this has been one of the most challenging years faced by PDH as we endeavoured to advance the myriad of issues surrounding Sea View House and the Minister of Health’s request for a review to identify overall effectiveness.”
He said the surplus was achieved with help from “significant” financial support to ensure the service remained viable.
“Increased costs experienced by PDH this year reflect additional medical staff employed and escalating demand for accident and emergency services,” Mr Noske said. “Our aim in the next financial year must be to achieve a balanced financial result without additional support from the government.”
The financial report shows $23.1 million in government operating grants and $2.7m in government capital grants.
Chief executive John O’Neill, who is leaving after five years at the helm, paid tribute to board members for their service “in an environment where difficult decisions must be made to ensure the ongoing viability of our health service in times of tight budgets, rising wage pressure and inflationary costs”.
Mr O’Neill initially came on a six-month appointment to sort out crucial issues threatening the hospital’s future and stayed on to bring solutions. The health service employed 276 equivalent full-time staff and paid $22.45m in employee benefits.
It treated 5289 inpatients — 1000 more than last year — and 8879 accident and emergency cases. However, the number of births at the hospital fell significantly to only 30 for the financial year.
Moyne Health Services in Port Fairy achieved a $78,000 net surplus, which was $65,000 above budget, but $138,000 below the previous financial year.
Board president Geoff Youl and chief executive David Lee predicted an extra annual income of $330,000 through a three-year contract to deliver home and community care services to Koroit.
The health service has also bought land in Bank Street, Port Fairy for future extension of Moyneyana House aged-care wing. A masterplan has been undertaken to look at redevelopment of the overall complex for the next 15 years.
The service achieved one of the state’s highest ratings in site risk, but a poor score in hand hygene.
There were 476 inpatients in acute care and a total of 3258 non-admitted patients.