THE Victorian Government will officially return Mildura Base Hospital (MBH) to public management, with Ramsay Health Care notified today that its contract will not be renewed past September 2020.

A statement issued tonight by MBH CEO, Julia Morgan, confirmed the news.

Ms Morgan said that Ramsay was “extremely disappointed.”

“We have worked very hard to ensure we delivered excellent care and high-quality outcomes for patients, since we commenced operating the hospital in 2000,” she said.

“We are very proud of the fact that after almost two decades of Ramsay management, there has not been any major quality, safety or performance issues.

“In addition, Ramsay has managed MBH within budget for the entire time of its operation, never having to ask the Government for additional funding, or not met its budget.

“We have also had an excellent relationship throughout the 19 years with the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services.”

Ms Morgan said that said MBH was the most remote sub-regional hospital in Victoria, and one that operated in a community of high disadvantage, meaning that it had unique challenges, including workforce recruitment and retention and high acuity presentations.

“Ramsay has been operating hospitals in Australia for 50 years, and has its roots in regional and rural Australia, so we have understood the challenges facing rural and remote communities,” she said.

“As the largest private provider of acute private hospital services in Australia, and a global operator of 480 public and private healthcare facilities spanning 11 countries, Ramsay is an operator with strong knowledge and experience in hospital and healthcare services.”

In February this year, Ramsay offered the State a proposal to continue operating the hospital for the next 10 years along with an investment of $13million in hospital and community-based services in the area.

“We tried everything we could to retain operation of the hospital, but we respect the decision to return the hospital to the State, and will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure a smooth transition,” Ms Morgan said.

Mildura Hospital Conversation Inc. secretary, Jo Rodda, meanwhile, said the group was “ecstatic” to hear the news.

“I think we’re doing a really happy dance right now,” she said. “After such a long fight, to finally have that news has brought tears to my eyes.

“It’s been a difficult, long battle to stand up for out community, so I’m so very pleased as are all members of Mildura Hospital Conversation.”

While Ramsay has already gone public with the news, no official word has come from the Victorian Government just yet. Member for Mildura Ali Cupper, a strong advocate for MBH’s return to public management, was also unavailable for comment this evening.