TO SOME in the Bass Coast Shire, the struggle to retain a nurse practitioner service in the Waterline and Hinterland communities must have seemed minor compared with the frightening events unfolding overseas.
Some people implied that it was similar to the dog bylaws issue. One councillor even stated that the Waterline community was beginning to develop a reputation as an irrational pressure group.
The formation of community action groups is a legitimate way of bringing issues of concern to the attention of governments at all levels and a fundamental part of our democratic process.
Let me explain why this issue was so important to our community by telling the story of a 90-year-old resident of Coronet Bay. He doesn’t wish to be named so I’ll call him John. John, who lives with his wife, Sandra, maintains a small vegetable plot in his garden, oversees all that needs to be done in his household and has a lot to do with his fellow residents.
When it comes to health services, he catches the small bus that travels from Coronet Bay to Grantville, where the nurse practitioner can monitor his general health. He then visits the chemist to fill his prescriptions and returns home on the bus, happy that he has been able to look after himself without imposing on anyone.
For John and Sandra, the nurse practitioner service is another link that assists them to retain their independence and stay in their own home as long as possible. It means he is not a burden to his youngest daughter, who would otherwise have to take him to medical appointments, and he retains freedom of choice about his health needs.
John is not the only one who relies on this service. So do others residents aged from 90 years to nine days.
Residents and community groups demonstrated their support with donations to pay the rent of the room at the Grantville Transaction Centre to keep the service operating. In an area where some really struggle with day to day expenses, and in tough economic times, this has been an enormous feat.