Albury Wodonga Health chairman Matt Burke has stopped short of conceding it is part of a "formal process" to explore a mega merger of regional health services.
Two days after publicly stating AWH had not signed up to be part of a feasibility study looking at a merger with Wangaratta and Benalla health services, Mr Burke called a special meeting of directors last Friday to address the ongoing speculation which began when the matter was raised in the Victorian parliament by member for Benambra Bill Tilley.
The Border Mail understands Goulburn Valley Health has also agreed to be part of the "formal process" starting this year to explore merging with Albury-Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla based services.
Late Friday, Mr Burke issued a statement to The Border Mail on the outcome of the board meeting to clarify the board's position regarding "collaboration" with other health services.
"The board continuously reviews models, proposals and options that present opportunities to improve and expand healthcare services for our community," the statement said..
"However, decisions to pursue any models of care (collaborative or otherwise) will only ever be made on the basis they improve access to and quality of care for both Albury and Wodonga (and local border) communities.
"Any future considerations made by the board to progress any type of a structural collaborative arrangement would not occur without undertaking comprehensive stakeholder and community engagement."
IN OTHER NEWS
The hastily arranged board meeting followed a visit to Albury the previous day from NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet with health service discussions high on the agenda.
Earlier in the week Mr Burke told The Border Mail: "I've got no idea where all this merger stuff has come from.
"There is no feasibility study.
"We haven't signed up to anything, there is no (memorandum of understanding), there is no nothing."
Mr Burke declined to speak directly to The Border Mail following the release of his statement last on Friday.
Albury Council is also seeking a please explain on what is happening.
Fiona Shanks will be the interim CEO.
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