A GROUND-BREAKING analysis of health in the Gannawarra and Loddon Shires has identified four priority areas – diabetes, heart health, mental health and oral health.
The 206-page Loddon Gannawarra Health Needs Analysis was undertaken by the Loddon Gannawarra Health Services Executive Network, which is made up of 12 health and community organisations across the two shires.
The analysis was officially launched at the Dingee Bush Nursing Centre on Wednesday morning.
"This is a significant day in the future of health services for these two shires; never before has there been such a report that focuses on determining what the priority health needs are for these two areas," Kerang District Health chief executive officer and LGHSEN chair, Robert Jarman said.
Mr Jarman said the organisations had pulled together a significant amount of data to undertake the analysis and identify the four health priorities.
"To address these health issues, healthcare must be proactive rather than reactive and focus on partnerships with the patient/client," he said.
"The task of the executive network group is to develop action plans for each of those health priorities and those action plans will be, but not limited to, reviewing the current services we have, service redesign, are the needs being met, is there funding available to help us address those needs.
"We would be hoping to receive government funding to support us in achieving that."
Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership chief executive officer, Eileen Brownless said the analysis revealed some alarming statistics, particularly in the Loddon Shire.
"Diabetes incidents in Loddon are more than double the State average, and the heart attack rate in Loddon is 2.4 times the State average, and the smoking rate is high," she said.
Ms Brownless said the analysis identified numerous modifiable risk factors that contributed to the four health priorities.
"These include lack of physical activity, high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, and tobacco and alcohol and other substance use," she said.
LGHSEN member organisations include Kerang District Health, Northern District Community Health Service, Cohuna District Health, Mallee District Aboriginal Services, Gannawarra Shire Council, Loddon Shire Council, Southern Mallee Primary Care Partnership, Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership, Boort District Health, Inglewood and Districts Health Service, Dingee Bush Nursing Centre, and Murray Primary Health Network.