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    Wimmera Health Care Group cheif executive Catherine Morley.

Leader reflects on call to arms

By Dean Lawson

A leading Wimmera health administrator has spoken glowingly of the professionalism of individuals and organisations involved in a regional response to a major road emergency.

Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Catherine Morley said she had also been impressed by a Wimmera-wide community effort.

She said she was ‘very’ proud of being part of a broad team called into action after a bus loaded with passengers crashed into an overturned truck trailer on the Western Highway near Pimpinio last week.

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“The way people stepped up was absolutely brilliant. It was a case where every role was important and every person did their job with support from the broader community,” she said.

“As the only emergency-response centre in the region it was really pleasing how well everyone responded and worked together.”

While a bus driver died and an air ambulance flew two people with serious injuries to Melbourne after the crash early Thursday morning, many of the 45 passengers on the bus needed treatment for various injuries and shock at Wimmera Base Hospital.

“For those people on the bus, many of them from overseas, their world went upside down,” Ms Morley said.

“There were some amazing stories about where they were going and where they had to go and I’m glad to say that a combined effort provided them with the support and direction they needed.”

Ms Morley added the response was particularly impressive considering the hospital’s emergency department had long been in need of a major infrastructure upgrade.

“Our emergency department, built 23 years ago, has struggled to function adequately to meet Horsham demands and infrastructure needs to change,” she said.

“We are working on a master plan and emergency is certainly part of that.

“We had no room on Thursday – people were flowing out the door. For a financially strapped organisation we responded and responded well.”

Ms Morley said despite a successful response to circumstances, the event identified areas of potential improvement for the future.

“Our focus is on continuous improvement,” she said.

“What can we learn from how it went and how can we make it better next time? What changes will make us more effective?”

Ms Morley said the health group had already had its own debriefing session and would join emergency and community services for a collective incident debrief within the next week.

In honour of bus driver Emil Pich, 60, who had worked for Firefly Express for more than 25 years, depression-fighting project Black Dog Bus has urged motorists through social media to turn on their headlights on July 24.

Firefly is a major supporter of the Black Dog Bus project through the Black Dog Institute. 

The entire July 17, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!