At our meeting in October, updates about activities were provided by the CEO (Kate Gillan), and the Committee Chair (Joy Humphreys, Board Director) and we had a presentation from the Director of Clinical Services, Ali Rodda.

We discussed the key themes emerging from the recent Tea Talks, including the implementation of a model to provide 24/7 Urgent Care using a combination of doctors, nurse practitioners, the ambulance service and Telehealth. We discussed ways of improving communication with the community such as more information in the Apollo Bay News Sheet, establishing a quarterly newsletter, providing opportunities for face to face meetings, and ensuring the communications role was present in our OHCAC meetings. We talked about staff culture and morale, the outcome of the culture review, the work that the People and Culture Committee and Staff Consultative Committee are undertaking, and the up-skilling and positive effect resulting from having in-situ education provided by Nurse Practitioners.  We further discussed the role of the OHCAC in providing information to the community, and, raising issues, concerns or queries on behalf of community groups, to the committee.

Community members raised queries about the frequency of meetings at Sea Mist Villas. Sea Mist Villa meetings are held every second month and the most recent one was held in August; however, the April meeting was cancelled by the residents.  A new Social Worker is commencing at Otway Health in October and will attend all future resident meetings. Community members raised concerns about changes made by the Pathology Service, which are not controlled by Otway Health.  If urgent pathology services are required outside the hours provided by Pathology, community members may attend the Urgent Care Unit to have blood samples taken and these will be sent with the courier.

We were prompted to think about preparing for Summer with a short presentation from Ali Rodda, who reminded us about the possibility of Seasonal Storm Asthma and snakebites. In addition, two further staff are now trained to use the X-Ray machine which should reduce the need to transfer patients unnecessarily for minor incidents, and, a Rural and Isolated Practice Endorsed Registered Nurses (RIPERN) has been appointed to Otway Health. RIPERN nurses are trained specifically for rural and isolated areas and have additional diagnosis and medication administration authorisation.

Our final topic was the recruitment of additional members to the OHCAC, as we currently have three vacancies.

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