Frequently Asked Questions

Integration Plan – Frequently Asked Questions

CHIRP Community Health and Castlemaine Health have been working closely together to strengthen community health and services in the local area.

Why are CHIRP Community Health and Castlemaine Health integrating?

Integration will enable continued provision of accessible and responsive community health services for our local community. It is supported by an independent review and feedback from staff, consumers, partner organisations and the wider community.

The integration will amalgamate staff and services currently delivered by both organisations in order to:

  • enhance access to community health and services across the Mount Alexander Shire
  • strengthen services to better meet the evolving needs of the community
  • enhance opportunities for staff development/training/skill sharing and best practice
  • share the burden of compliance and ensure that funding can be targeted to services and community programs as much as possible
  • ensure future sustainability

Both organisations have a strong connection to the shared communities that we serve. We are pooling our resources to get the best health and wellbeing outcomes for our community. Integration will combine the resources of both organisations and ensure the community has access to a range of community health services.

What stage of integration are we at?

The integration proposal and business case were endorsed by both Boards in May 2021 and approved by the Minister for Health on 22 September 2021.

When will integration happen?

Integration will be formally implemented on Friday, 1 October 2021.

What are the benefits of integration for the local community?

Combining our organisations’ staff, skills and knowledge will enable a more integrated and joined-up community health service in the Mount Alexander Shire. An integrated community health service will be better positioned to:

  • grow focus on health, wellbeing and health promotion
  • integrate our approach to working with health sector partners, community groups and organisations
  • combine focus in our work with partners and government on facility options
  • share intake and systems to better support clients to navigate the health system
  • combine and optimise staff and volunteer knowledge and expertise
  • share back-office services and improve efficiency.

What influence can I have over the future of community health services?

Staff and community consultation have underpinned the integration process to date. Consultation and engagement will remain key to developing services into the future. Opportunities to be involved will be published widely in the media, on social media and communicated directly to clients and community groups.

What will this mean for staff and volunteers at CHIRP?

All staff and volunteers are vital to program and service delivery. The integration will result in the combination of staffing and services currently delivered by both organisations. It will also create opportunities for professional development and collaboration to support new ways of working and models of service delivery that enhance community services. Volunteers of both organisations will be working together to continue their important work to support the communities across Mount Alexander Shire.

What will happen to the existing funding for community health services?

There will be no reduction in funding for the community health programs.

Will we still operate from the same location?

Yes, for the foreseeable future. CHIRP’s community health services will continue to be delivered from the same location and by the same staff, as will Castlemaine Health’s community health services. We know from community feedback that people value easy access and that we can’t deliver good community health services without it. While there is no easy answer to the question of location we will continue to explore options that let us be flexible about what we do and how we do it. Those discussions will evolve over time in partnership with clients and the community.

How are the organisations working together now?

We have a long and proud history of working together. CHIRP and Castlemaine Health have been collaborating closely during COVID-19 to provide pop-up testing and rapid testing responses. Prior to COVID-19, CHIRP Community Health and Castlemaine Health staff have been delivering services across both sites. For example, diabetes support and podiatry, working on community engagement projects and considering joint grants.

If CHIRP Community Health and Castlemaine Health combine their community health services, what will it be called?

For the foreseeable future, CHIRP Community Health and Castlemaine Health branding will co-exist on community health services. Broader questions of identity and brand will be progressed as part of the strategic planning process next year.

Will the CHIRP website continue to exist?

Yes, for the moment. This matter will be addressed as part of the strategic planning process next year.