Home' The Great Southern Star : January 10th 2017 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - PAG E 11
By Sarah Vella
INFRASTRUCTURE and forging an
identity are vital to meeting the needs
of the growing population in Wont-
This was one of the recommendations put
forward to Bass Coast Shire Council by the Fu-
ture Wonthaggi Focus Group, which identified
areas where improvements could be made to the
Sam Gatto was involved in the group and
said several main themes were evident from
community engagement sessions.
“Wonthaggi began as a model town and
grew from there. It had an identity then based
on solidarity, inclusion and cooperation. Those
values have been forgotten,” he said.
Mr Gatto said the group identified a need to
focus on infrastructure.
“Wonthaggi is a peri urban centre, growth is
essential. Any delivery of infrastructure needs
to be done through high levels of community
consultation,” he said.
“Growth or change without engagement
has the potential to create disillusion within the
Bass Coast Shire Council mayor Cr Pamela
Rothfield said over the coming months, council
would determine the minor and major capital
works for the year.
“Community engagement is up there with
us. The council must engage with the commu-
nity. It will be done,” she said.
Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Associa-
tion vice president Terry Earl said the whole
process of the engagement sessions was amaz-
“We want to push it as a group and hope the
new council is right there behind us,” he said.
Council’s coordinator strategic planning
Chris White said the Wonthaggi Focus Group
engagement was a new model for council,
which saw council give more control to the
“There was no strict agenda. We wanted the
community to drive the sessions. It was a genu-
ine collaboration,” he said.
“We were nervous going into it, but it has
been quite significant.”
Three workshop sessions were held, with
around 15 community members at each ses-
By Tayla Kershaw
AMBULANCE arrival times have im-
proved significantly in Bass Coast.
The average ambulance arrival time in South
Gippsland is between 20 and 25 minutes. Bass
Coast has averaged an improved time between 15
and 20 minutes.
Ambulance Victoria Gippsland regional di-
rector Simon Jemmett said the collaborative ap-
proach throughout the health network had ensured
local ambulance arrival times were above the state
“At Bass Coast Health, Wonthaggi Hospital
transfer times are improving with 93.9 percent
of patients off the ambulance stretcher within 40
minutes of arriving at hospital in the most recent
quarter,” he said.
“In terms of ambulance response times, code
one response time performance has improved
state wide over the past 12 months. We know,
however, there is much more to be done locally
to improve our performance and meet community
“One of the ways we are improving is by ex-
panding our referral service and our engagement
with the Gippsland Primary Health Network. This
assists with diverting appropriate patients from
ambulances and local hospitals to more appro-
priate care such as their local GP or other health
“We are committed to improving our perfor-
mance and delivering the best patient outcomes
Recently, Bass Coast Health has seen more
than 80 percent of its emergency patients within
the recommended time of four hours – which has
not been the case in some years.
Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child said the
performance in the emergency department had
improved over the last six months.
“In March 2016 we increased our number
of beds, which makes things run a lot smoother
when ambulances arrive,” she said.
“Towards the end of the year we tend to get a
Team work: Bass Coast Health CEO Jan
Child and Ambulance Victoria district man-
ager Eddie Wright discuss ways of improv-
ing ambulance arrival times and patient care
in the Wonthaggi Hospital emergency de-
Paramedics quick to act
bit busier, so it’s great to have this flow. By cre-
ating space we are ensuring people are not kept
Ms Child said the improved arrival times have
a lot to do with communication and the staff work-
ing closely with the paramedics.
“We have increased communication to ensure
everyone is working together and we can get the
ambulances back on the road quicker,” she said.
“There’s been a lot of work around improving
basic radio communication so we can have extra
beds prepared for arrival.”
Eastern Victoria Region MLC Harriet Shing
said ambulance times continue to improve South
Gippsland wide despite the increase in ambulance
Spotlight on Wonthaggi’s future
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