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CEO joins calls for
funding boost to community health

CEO joins calls for
funding boost to community health

Ballarat Times
15 February 2023

THE chief executive officer of Ballarat Community Health is lobbying the State Government for better funding for community health services.

Sean Duffy and BCH, alongside 23 other registered independent Victorian community health services, are uniting as part of the new Community Health First campaign.

The campaign is advocating for more financial support for the sector which aims to lessen the demand on the public healthcare system, play a role in health promotion, and in disease prevention.

On the agenda is a 20 per cent increase in the State’s core funding to registered independent community health groups due to increasing demands on services, to ensure sustainability and to pay for community health jobs and infrastructure.

“The Community Health First campaign is calling on Government to urgently fund community health services throughout metropolitan, rural and regional Victoria,” Mr Duffy said. “Our health system is facing sustained pressure like never before.“

It is critical that the Government ensures community health services are properly resourced as core partners in the health system, rather than as an afterthought.“Ballarat Community Health is supporting the Community Health First campaign because we know that the key to solving our current healthcare crisis sits within our services.

“No other part of our healthcare system has the same level of community connection or ability to rapidly enact scalable responses to emerging public health issues.

“Victoria’s community health services ensure that world-class healthcare is accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach people in our communities.

”The campaign is also aiming to get National Health Agreement recognition for registered community health services so any state funding is matched by a Federal contribution.

Community health centres aim to deliver a variety of services to patients from all backgrounds, particularly those who are vulnerable, living with a disability or addiction, within First Nations, migrant, or LGBTIQA+ communities, are homeless, or may otherwise struggle to access good health and wellbeing services.

Groups like BCH have general practitioners, psychologists, oral and allied health staff on staff and seek to promote good physical and mental health in the community and work to not only treat, but also prevent illnesses and diseases.

A statement from BCH said the service’s staff have enjoyed working closely with the State throughout the COVID-19 response on initiatives including vaccination, education, and outreach, and with the right support can continue to lessen the strain on the public health system.“Our strong connections to local communities built across 50 years of operation and our ability to reach those who need world-class healthcare the most make us a pivotal component in addressing the sustained pressure being felt by our health system,” the statement said.

Under the Community Health First campaign, the collation of services are also requesting the State recommend registered independent community health groups as “partners of choice” when delivering community health and primary care projects.

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