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 sector 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 accountable to the Minister for Health.

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 better identify the future needs of the Mildura community and surrounding areas across health, mental health, aged care and community health services.

  • In order to ensure that local people have a voice in shaping these services, a Community Consultative Committee (CCC) will be established, working with government to provide input into the service planning process.
  • An expression of interest for community involvement is now open.

Questions and answers

  • Background
    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 transition to the new public sector management model.

    When will public management of Mildura Base Hospital begin?

    Public sector management will start after the current agreement between Ramsay Health and the Victorian Government ends on 15 September 2020.

    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 Minister appointed Board of Directors, and any future operational surpluses will be reinvested into services for the community and their annual report will be tabled in Parliament each year.

  • Transition
    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. For further details please visit the Mildura Base Hospital website.

    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. Existing services will continue to be provided at the Mildura Base Hospital. The regional service plan will identify opportunities to expand and improve the scope of the services currently provided at Mildura Base Hospital.

    Patients and the community are important stakeholders in this process and will be consulted. The Community Consultative Committee (CCC) will ensure that the community have a voice in shaping the future services at Mildura Base Hospital, working with government to provide input into the service planning process.

    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.

  • Governance
    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 sector boards website, Get On Board.

    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 to commence in 1 July 2020.

    Advertising for the Board of Directors will commence in November 2019.

    More information on Health Service Boards is available on the health.vic's health service boards and governance section.

  • Regional Service Plan
    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 as well as identifying opportunities for better health prevention initiatives and more integrated and contemporary service delivery.

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

    The CCC will be established to ensure that the community provides input for the development of the plan.

    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 by the Victorian Government will identify services to meet future community needs, allowing further investment opportunities to be analysed and proposed to provide the greatest benefit to the people of Mildura.

  • Community Consultative Committee (CCC)
    What is the role of the Community Consultative Committee (CCC)?

    The 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 future healthcare needs.

    Further information and Terms of Reference for the CCC is available at the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority (VHHSBA) website.

    An expression of interest process for community members has commenced and will close Tuesday 29 October.

    How can I get involved with the CCC?

    An expression of interest process has commenced and will close Tuesday 29 October. More information is available at the VHHSBA website.

  • Project timeline
    • 15 September 2000 - Ramsay Health commence operation of Mildura Base Hospital
    • 2013 - Mildura Base Hospital assets returned to Victorian Government control
    • August 2019 - The Victorian Government announces the return of Mildura Base Hospital to public operation
    • 30 September - 29 October 2019 - Expressions of interest for community involvement in the Community Consultative Committee open
    • December 2019 - Service Planning commences
    • November 2019 - Advertising for Board of Directors for new public health service commences
    • Mid 2020 - Board of Directors appointed
    • 15 September 2020 - Full public operation of Mildura Base Hospital
    • Late 2020 - Service Plan process concludes