Health net­work un­der scru­tiny

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The fu­ture of Vic­to­ria’s health-part­ner­ship net­work is un­der scru­tiny with the State Op­po­si­tion ac­cus­ing the gov­ern­ment of ne­glect­ing the sys­tem.

Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy said the gov­ern­ment ‘had taken the scalpel to Vic­to­ria’s 28 Pri­mary Part­ner­ships’.

Vic­to­ria’s Pri­mary Care Part­ner­ship, PCP, pro­gram, es­tab­lished in 2000, con­nects health, hu­man and mu­nic­i­pal-ser­vice providers to max­imise com­mu­nity health ser­vices.

The 28 part­ner­ships, cov­er­ing all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the state, in­cludes Wim­mera, Grampians-pyre­nees and South­ern Grampians-glenelg PCPS, which pro­vide a con­nec­tive sys­tem for much of western Vic­to­ria.

Ms Kealy, a for­mer re­gional health­ser­vice ex­ec­u­tive, said Health Min­is­ter Jenny Mikakos had re­vealed in State Par­lia­ment last week that PCPS were far from a pri­or­ity.

She said as a re­sult the gov­ern­ment was par­tic­u­larly let­ting down western Vic­to­rian com­mu­ni­ties.

“When ques­tioned in par­lia­ment the Min­is­ter con­firmed that fund­ing for all 28 PCPS had been abol­ished, leav­ing many on­go­ing com­mu­nity pro­grams at a stand­still,” she said.

“PCPS bring to­gether lo­cal health and hu­man ser­vice providers to im­prove ac­cess to ser­vices and pro­vide con­ti­nu­ity of care for peo­ple in their com­mu­nity, fo­cus­ing on bet­ter co-or­di­na­tion among ser­vices.”

Ms Kealy said the an­nounce­ment comes

on the back of a long line of fail­ures and fund­ing cuts to front­line health ser­vices by La­bor since the 2018 elec­tion, in­clud­ing den­tal and com­mu­nity health, women’s health, pal­lia­tive-care ser­vices, health pro­tec­tion and can­cer-treat­ment tech­nol­ogy.

“Our three lo­cal PCPS con­tinue to de­liver a range of pro­grams with re­cent fo­cuses in­clud­ing ru­ral men­tal health, pro­mot­ing healthy liv­ing, fam­ily vi­o­lence and Tele­health pro­grams for can­cer care,” she said.

“We have fought hard for the Ru­ral Outreach Pro­gram and Men­tal Health First Aid train­ing in the re­gion to fill gaps in the pub­lic men­tal-health sys­tem.

“With­out PCPS these pro­grams just wouldn’t ex­ist, which would be dev­as­tat­ing for men­tal-health sup­port in our re­gion.

“In ad­di­tion to con­cerns about these com­mu­nity pro­grams be­ing axed, what will hap­pen to the lo­cal jobs for those who pro­vide these vi­tal ser­vices?

“Health pre­ven­tion is of­ten the first step to tack­ling some of Vic­to­ria’s se­ri­ous health chal­lenges.

“PCPS have played an im­por­tant role in Vic­to­ria’s health net­work for two decades.

“Vi­tal ser­vices pro­vided by our PCPS are im­por­tant to western Vic­to­rian res­i­dents and we need to make it clear we won’t stand for these cuts.”

Ms Kealy said she was keen to hear from any­one who used PCP ser­vices in the re­gion and were con­cerned about lat­est de­vel­op­ments.

She said peo­ple could email her at emma. [email protected]­lia­ment.vic.gov.au or call her of­fice on 5382 0097.

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