Ballarat Health Services chief denies influx of Geelong residents

BALLARAT Health Services has refuted claims a number of Geelong residents are

using its emergency department.

The Geelong Advertiser reported recently some people were travelling to other hospitals, including Ballarat Base Hospital, due to a patient waiting time

blowout at the Geelong Hospital.

However, BHS chief executive officer Andrew Rowe said yesterday only 180 people from Geelong had been to the Base Hospital for treatment last year, compared to 207 in 2012.

He said this drop represented a 13 per cent reduction in one calendar year.

The number of Geelong residents treated last year was only 0.34 per cent of the total 52,897 patients treated, while the 2012 figure was 0.39 per cent of the 53,023 patients seen.

Mr Rowe said the statistics showed the percentage of Geelong-based residents seeking treatment at the Base Hospital was extremely low, and was more likely related to people becoming ill or having an accident while visiting Ballarat.

He said some residents who lived on the Ballarat side of Geelong might also visit the Base Hospital.

“We get people from overseas, interstate, Mildura, Shepparton. We get a smattering from everywhere who are just visiting Ballarat,” Mr Rowe said.

He said it was unsafe for patients to travel long distances when care was available locally in Geelong, with the risk a patient’s condition could deteriorate while travelling.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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