Doing it for ourselves: Yackandandah's Health Precinct
In July 2017, the medical practice that served the aged care facility and the wider community around Yackandandah, in Victoria, was withdrawn and the town found itself without doctors.
The need for local medical services was compelling; doctors in neighbouring towns were not taking patients and many of the aged care residents were frail, making longer trips out of town difficult, and often requiring an ambulance. The medical centre also provided a venue for allied health professionals, so the closure created a significant gap in support services.
The Yackandandah community has a strong history of successfully reinvigorating and supporting community businesses. So not surprisingly, the Yackandandah Bush Nursing Hospital (which has been around since 1929) decided to establish a medical and allied health service within the Yackandandah Health precinct. YBNH is well qualified to do this, having built a residential aged care facility in 1994, which is home to 67 residents. The Service is governed by a Committee of nine and has a membership of 350. At the aged care home, they employ 96 staff supported by 32 volunteers.
For this project, they worked with Tallangatta Health to secure new doctors, ensuring that the neighbouring communities now have access to doctors and medical support.
The Bush Nursing Hospital operates out of a building owned by Yackandandah Health, however, the facilities at the Centre were somewhat shabby and some furnishings and equipment were no longer fit for purpose. The Bush Nursing Hospital recieved a $37,367 grant from the Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) to upgrade the building including repainting, new carpets, IT, consulting couches and other furnishings.
This project has helped ensure the local community, including the aged care facility, have local access to reliable medical and allied health services. Basic services such as this are vital to the sustainability of small towns, and the future of Yackandandah is certainly stronger because of this project.