Community reeling from centre closure

LOCAL COMMUNITY UP IN ARMS… Standing up for his community, local resident, Gerard Ryan

The small regional community of Murchison is reeling on finding out their community care centre faces possible closure.

In light of overwhelming debts, the DP Jones Nursing Home faces possible closure along with the Neighbourhood House and the medical centre and pharmacy.

Royden James, spokesperson for  the Murchison Community Action Group, formed as a consequence of the pending closure said, “We are not optimistic…but hopeful that we find a solution. We are working with Damian Drum MP (Member for Nicholls) to appeal to the Federal Government for funding to cover existing debts and then looking for another accredited health care agency to take over running the facility.”

Local Member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed speaking on the floor of the Victorian Parliament said, “The home is well run and is central to the well being of the township.

“It’s a home that’s been sufficiently staffed. It’s a home that provided a standard that won’t be talked about at the Royal Commission into Aged Care because there will be no need to,” Ms Sheed said.

“Now that community is being punished for caring for its elderly at a standard above and beyond. This has led to financial ruin and elderly folk are being transported as we speak to foreign environments away from their own communities, isolated from their families and devastated by the confusion and grief of the closure of their familiar, caring nursing home.”

Ms Sheed is calling on both Victorian State Government and its federal counterpart to step in and ensure the home remains open.

The Adviser has been inundated with Letters to the Editor on the matter. Their general theme is that the care centre is integral with the town. Many of its residents have lived in Murchison for their whole lives and to be uprooted at this stage in their lives will be catastrophic.

One letter, written by Gerald Ryan, the uncle of Steph Ryan, the local member for Euroa and published in our Letters to the Editor,  laments the possibility of the closure completely disrupting his advancing years of remaining in the small town that has been his life. Coincidentally, Steph Ryan was born in Murchison and has a vested interest in seeing it remaining open and viable.

Steph Ryan brought the matter before the Victorian Parliament making a request for the State Government to purchase the buildings currently owned by the Murchison Community Care to ensure that there can be some continuity of service and that the properties are not sold off to developers.

As of Saturday, November 2, aged care provider, Respect Aged Care has indicated it is prepared to walk in and take over the facility, provided the Federal Government provide the necessary financial assistance.

Time will tell. According to Royden James, the debt situation at Murchison reflects the financial situation at many small non-profit care centres, which puts the onus back on the Federal Government to address the many issues facing aged care around the country.