Hospital funding: please don’t forget about us on the Border

Sometimes it can feel like our position on the Border provides authorities with an opportunity to pass the buck.

Organisations like Albury-Wodonga Health with hospitals in both cities either side of the Murray River are, admittedly, a tricky prospect for funding.

Hospitals are funded by state governments and in this case, while both Victoria and NSW provide different levels of funding, it is the Victorian government which has responsibility for AWH, including the emergency departments.

This arrangement often leaves residents north of the border scratching their heads, wondering why their own representatives are not the ones responding to their issues.

This week The Border Mail learnt that hospital agreement will finally be renewed, eight years after it was first introduced.

While it has not been revealed what changes will be made, you can imagine the hospital and both state governments would have much more knowledge of what does and does not work than they did in 2009.

Here’s the chance to put those lessons into practice.

AWH chief executive Leigh McJames was smart when he said both NSW and Victoria needed to be committed to the organisation.

“What they’ll be looking at is areas that could be improved,” he said.

“The advice (we’ve put forward) is very much we want to emphasise the commitment of both governments.”

An example of the anomaly came up in October when the Nolan House facility in Albury started to lobby the Victorian government for a $1.1 million upgrade.

While eyes will be on the Victorian budget to see if the money is forthcoming, it does not mean NSW politicians can turn away.

Nolan House, Albury hospital’s emergency department and its many other facilities are of vital importance to the people of Albury and the Riverina – these politicians’ own constituents.

While it would be great to see an updated agreement between the two states to make the responsibilities clearer, a piece of paper should not matter.

Working together in partnerships needs to be second-nature for all organisations across Albury-Wodonga.

Whether it is ministers or local MPs, they have to all be fighting hard to ensure the best health services and required funding is provided for constituents – no matter which side of the border is officially responsible.