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Put Community Health First

Put Community Health First

Gannawarra Times
Friday 3 February

Independent community health services across Victoria are calling on the state government to put community health first.

All 24 registered independent community health services, including Northern District Community Health (NDCH), have come together to launch their new Community Health First campaign.

This looks to key decision makers to recognise the critical role of Victoria’s community health services in addressing the overwhelming demand facing the healthcare system.

NDCH CEO Mandy Hutchinson believes it is crucial that the measures independent health services are asking for are implemented.

“The state government called on us during floods and the pandemic, and we’ve been really agile in our response and provided our communities with some terrific support,” Ms Hutchinson told the Gannawarra Times.

“We’re saying now that we can really be a part of the solution to the current health crisis.

“The hospital systems just aren’t coping with the amount of people going in. If there was more investment in the sorts of services that we provide, we could make a big difference and reduce the impact on the public health service system.”

Community health services provide a range of services to their local communities, including health promotion, chronic illness and disease prevention and treatment, mental health services, oral health, allied health, general practice and community outreach.

They are campaigning for:

- An increase in core funding to registered independent community health services by at least 20 percent to meet population growth over the past decade and help ensure ongoing delivery of crucial services and health promotion work, with a commitment to annual indexation of funding aligned to inflation.CEMENT registered independent community health services as the “partner of choice” for the State Government for any primary care and community-based health initiatives.PRIORITISE fair and sustainable investment in community health infrastructure and workforce development, including identification of critical areas of need and inclusion in system-wide forward planning.
WORK with the Federal Government to recognise registered community health services in the National Health Agreement, so that State Government funding for community health is matched by federal investment as it is for hospital funding.

“People haven’t looked after their health during COVID, so there was always going to be this extra impact on public health services,” Ms Hutchinson said.

“We are just saying, if you could put some of the money you putting into trying to patch that up into preventative work, imagine the difference it could make.

“Community health is so well placed – we are trusted in our community, we know our communities, we can access the most vulnerable in our communities, so we are really well connected and trusted and are in a perfect position to be able to support our communities to be healthier and happier.”

Ms Hutchinson said that if the measures aren’t put into place soon, the state’s healthcare system won’t get any better.

“People are going to slip through the gaps, and we are just going to see a much unhealthier community,” Ms Hutchinson said.

“There are lots of things you can do to try and stop the sort of impact it is having at the moment, and for us we reckon this is the simplest way of doing.”

Check out the full article here:

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