A publicly operated Mildura Base Hospital

The Mildura Base Hospital is a sub-regional public hospital servicing about 80,000 people in the Sunraysia area. The hospital is the major public referral health service for the Northern Mallee sub-region of the Loddon Mallee region. 

On 23 August 2019, the Victorian Government announced its decision to return operation of Mildura Base Hospital to public management at the conclusion of the current agreement with Ramsay Health on 15 September 2020. This decision will bring operations of Mildura Base Hospital in line with all other rural Victorian public health services, including the appointment of a Board of Directors.

The Victorian Government would like to thank Ramsay Health and staff for their commitment to the Mildura community and Sunraysia region over the last 20 years and will work closely with Ramsay Health to ensure a smooth transition, ensuring there are no disruptions to services or care.

The Victorian Government has also announced it will invest $1 million for a new regional service plan to examine the healthcare needs of Mildura now and into the future.

A Community Consultative Committee will be established to ensure community engagement throughout the regional service plan informing future services and investment at Mildura Base Hospital. An expression of interest for community involvement will open in September 2019.

Questions and answers

  • What health services does Mildura Base Hospital provide?
    Mildura Base Hospital is a public 165-bed (level 1) tertiary teaching hospital, providing public hospital services on behalf of the Victorian Government to the community of Mildura and the Sunraysia District. The hospital delivers a range of services including Emergency, Maternity, Intensive Care, General Medicine and Surgery, Oncology, Medical Imaging, Pathology, Dialysis, Mental Health (Inpatient and community services), subacute care and a range of Ambulatory Services.
  • Why has Government made the decision to transfer Mildura Base Hospital to public management now?

    As the existing agreement with Ramsay Health is approaching the end of its current term in 2020, the Victorian Government decided the time was right to consider whether or not to continue this arrangement. 

    The Victorian Government has carefully considered this decision, including reviewing feedback from the recent community consultation. This decision will help ensure the community of Mildura feel more connected and aligned with their local health service and will also help bring operations of Mildura Base Hospital in line with all other rural Victorian public health services.

    Making this decision now provides more certainty to the community as to how public health services will be delivered in Mildura beyond 2020 and allows time to establish the new service. 

  • When will public management of Mildura Base Hospital begin?
    Public management will start after the current agreement between Ramsay Health and the Victorian Government ends on 15 September 2020.
  • How will the community be kept informed of the process?
    Updates for the community will be provided on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
  • How will staff be kept informed of the process?
    We will work closely with Ramsay Health to ensure staff are supported during this period. 

    Staff will be consulted and kept informed of the process through regular emails, team discussions and updates as well as discussions with their union representatives. 
  • How does a privately managed public hospital model really work? What will change once the service is transitioned to public management?

    The Mildura Base Hospital is a public health service currently operated by a private provider, Ramsay Health Care. The arrangement is managed under the terms of a Service Agreement between Ramsay Health and the Victorian Government. 

    In a privately managed public hospital, the private operator receives the same level of funding as any other public health service across Victoria and must abide by the same conditions. However, unlike other public health services, Mildura Base Hospital doesn’t have a Board of Directors appointed by the Minister for Health and operational surpluses are able to be retained by Ramsay Health and the health service's annual report is not tabled in Parliament.

    Once under public management, Mildura Base Hospital will continue to receive funding consistent with the policies applied to all Victorian public health services and meet the same quality and safety standards expected of all other public hospitals. 

    The hospital will also operate with a Ministerially appointed Board of Directors, any future operational surpluses will be reinvested into services for the community and their annual report will be tabled in Parliament each year.

  • What is the role of the Board of Directors of a Victorian public health service?

    A health service board is accountable to the Minister for Health for the performance of the health service and ensures the hospital adheres to Government policy.

    The role of the board includes overall governance of the health service, setting the strategic direction of the service, oversite of financial and service performance, responding to the needs of the local area, such as addressing changes in population and demographics, and meeting the regulatory and government policy requirements and standards for health services.

    The Board of Directors would be made up of between 6-12 members who have varied skill sets relevant to the operation of a large public entity, including clinical governance, legal, financial, ICT and risk management expertise. 

    Board of Directors are also required to be representative of their communities, with membership including representation for both men and women, indigenous Australians, people with a disability, young people and people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.


  • How are the Board of Directors appointed?

    Directors are appointed by the Minister for Health through an annual Board Appointment Round. The annual round typically starts in November of each year with the positions being advertised in local newspapers and vacancies listed on the Victorian public board’s website.

    Applicants are required to submit a formal application which demonstrates their experience and expertise against key selection criteria.

    A Board of Directors for a publicly operated Mildura Base Hospital will be appointed before operations start in September 2020.

    More information on Health Service Boards is available on the Department’s health service boards and governance web page.

  • What impact will there be on Mildura Base Hospital services over the course of transition?

    Mildura Base Hospital is a public 165-bed (level 1) tertiary teaching hospital and will continue to operate at the same level. Existing public services will continue to be provided during the transition and beyond.

    This includes a range of services including emergency, maternity, intensive care, general medicine and surgery, oncology, medical imaging, pathology, dialysis, mental health (inpatient and community services), subacute care and a range of ambulatory services.

    The performance monitoring of Mildura Base Hospital will continue in line with the framework applied to all Victorian public health services.

  • Why is the transition not happening until 15 September 2020?
    The current agreement between Ramsay Health and the Victorian Government ends on 15 September 2020. Ramsay Health will continue to operate the service until this time.
  • What will be the impact on existing Mildura Base Hospital staff?

    Staff of any health service play a vital role in the ability of a health service to deliver high quality care. Ensuring staff are supported through the transition process is paramount to a successful transition.

    Existing Mildura Base Hospital staff will be able to transition to the publicly operated health service at the end of the transition. The Department will be working closely with Ramsay Health and respective unions to support staff through the transition process.

  • What changes will patients see at Mildura Base Hospital beyond the transition?
    The community will be more connected to the service through a local Board of Directors. While in the short-term existing services will continue, the regional service plan will identify opportunities to expand and improve the scope of services currently provided at Mildura Base Hospital. Patients and the community are important stakeholders in this process and will be consulted.
  • How will regional service planning improve the provision of health services to the Sunraysia region?

    Regional service planning identifies how to deliver the very best health, mental health and aged care services, that best meets the unique needs of the Mildura community, now and into the future.

    The plan will inform how a publicly operated Mildura Base Hospital will grow and tailor it’s services to meet the needs of the local community and its role as part of the wider Victorian health system. This includes identifying partnerships, clinical capabilities and infrastructure needs. This includes identifying opportunities for better health prevention initiatives and more integrated, contemporary service delivery.

    The plan will also help inform the Victorian Government as to future investment opportunities to best meet community needs.

    A Community Consultative Committee (CCC) will be established to ensure broad community involvement in the plan.

  • What is the role of the Community Consultative Committee?

    The Community Consultative Committee (CCC) will provide an opportunity for the community to have a say in the development of the regional service plan, ensuring the plan truly meets the community’s healthcare needs. This will include identifying emerging issues, concerns, opportunities and priorities that should be addressed through a regional plan. 

    The CCC will also support ongoing communication with the community on the transition process, facilitating information sharing and hearing community concerns.

    Membership of the CCC will be determined via an expression of interest, it is expected to be made up of representatives from community health, mental health, aged care and/or other local health services, local government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Department of Health and Human Services representatives, and members of the public. 


  • How can I get involved with the CCC?
    An expression of interest process will start in September 2019. This will be publicly advertised in coming weeks.
  • What investment is Government making to ensure a publicly operated Mildura Base Hospital can better meet the needs of the Sunraysia Community?

    Across the state, the Labor Government is providing a record $12.2 billion for our hospitals and health services to treat more patients and provide even better care, helping meet the needs of our growing state.

    This includes a massive $124.07 million investment in operational funding for Mildura Base Hospital in 2019/20, which is $7.56 million more than the previous 12 months. The allocation is $36.19 million more than 2014/15 – a 41.2 per cent improvement. 

    It comes on top of $8.86 million from the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for an 8-bed intensive care unit, an 8-bed paediatric ward to open next year and to replace operating theatre equipment.

    A $1 million regional service plan will allow further investment opportunities to be identified that will provide the greatest benefit to the people of Mildura.