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    Richie Dodds.

West Wimmera rural health experience detailed to world

West Wimmera Health Service has showcased rural health to an international audience. 

Health service representatives delivered an ‘experience day’ showcasing care and services available across the Wimmera and Southern Mallee at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare, in Melbourne. 

The British Medical Journal and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement co-hosted the forum for attendees, who travelled from as far as Malaysia, Singapore, England, the US and Canada. 

They were immersed in a rural health experience through videos, case studies and discussions that showed the breadth of services the health service delivered.

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Information included the health service’s community profiles initiative, detailing the health issues and potential solutions for towns across its catchment area; highlighted its home care and support options and ophthalmology service; and provided a general overview that discussed both the health service and its surrounding region’s lifestyle and attractions. 

Staff, patients, clients and residents also shared their experiences working and living in the Wimmera and southern Mallee. 

Chief executive Richie Dodds said addressing the conference was an ‘incredible’ opportunity. 

“It was an opportunity to share with the world what a huge impact a little health service in rural Victoria is having on the communities we serve,” he said. 

“It was also a rare and wonderful opportunity for discussion with others across the globe who are in similar rural health settings; sharing insights and learning from one another.

“As conference attendees, we were also able to hear from delegates from a range of health settings, including a documentary from the US that included a foreword by Hillary Clinton that was particularly interesting and powerful.

“Overall, it was an ideal platform to demonstrate just how well our staff deliver safe, effective and person-centred care every time.”

Mr Dodds said the health service had established an international rural health community of practice to build on the success of the day and help ensure it remained at the forefront of innovation in rural health. 

The health service employs more than 580 people with support from about 55 volunteers – making it one of the region’s largest employers. 

People can watch the videos that formed the health service’s presentation via its Facebook page or YouTube channel. 

The entire November 22, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!