Campaign gets minister’s ear

SAVE Albury Wodonga Health campaigners have spelt out the region’s funding deficiencies during a chance meeting with Victoria’s Health Minister.

They hope their discussions with David Davis in Melbourne this week will open the door to more formal talks.

Much of the campaign committee’s focus now is on trying to organise a meeting with the Victorian, NSW and federal health ministers, along with the Border’s four state and federal MPs.

It is hoped the meeting could be held on the Border next month.

Robyn Raine and two other committee members bumped into Mr Davis at the Victorian Health Volunteer Awards on Wednesday.

“I asked him if he had heard anything about us or anything regarding Albury-Wodonga and he said he actually heard a lot about the cross-border service,” Mrs Raine said.

“I said we believed we’re under-funded and he said a lot of health services believe that.”

Mrs Raine said his response was not surprising as most politicians said the same thing.

The campaign seeks a bigger emergency department at Albury hospital, a public cardiac investigation laboratory, extra beds and operating theatre funding and more money for primary care services such as a diabetes-endocrine multidisciplinary clinic.

“At first it was standard conversation about ‘you do get enough funding’ but then (Mr Davis) was a bit more open and he listened to us,” Mrs Raine said.

“At the end of the day he came up to us again and spoke to us.”

Mr Davis was told he would get an invitation to a meeting with the committee, to which he said he “got a lot of invitations”.

“I said ‘now you know who this one is from and we hope you’ll attend’,” Mrs Raine said.

While the minister did not agree to anything, “he accepted it was his job to listen”.

“I told him that we really should have a cardio investigative unit in Albury-Wodonga.”

Mrs Raine said Mr Davis replied he thought the Border already had such a service at the Albury-Wodonga Private Hospital.

“I said that unit was only for investigations at the moment and it does not open the door to every public patient,” she said.

Fellow committee member Liz Hare said 10,000 signatures had now been counted on petitions supporting the campaign.

The petitions will be available until the meeting.

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