Overall funding for Victorian hospitals and community health services must at least match inflation to meet rising demand and deliver quality care, the Victorian Healthcare Association says.
In its state election platform published today, the peak body for public health services said rising inflation is effectively cutting hospital funding during a period of record-breaking demand.
Deputy CEO of the VHA Juan Paolo Legaspi said just as increasing cost of living pressures are impacting everyday Victorians, hospitals and community health services are also facing inflated costs.
‘When health budgets don’t match or exceed inflation, public health services have to limit how many health workers they can recruit and how many services they can deliver. All of this affects how many patients they can treat and how quickly they can provide treatment,’ he said.
‘In the lead up to the Victorian state election, we want all political parties to protect our public health services from inflation for the next four-year parliamentary term. This is the funding that keeps the lights on in our hospitals and pays our nurses and doctors.’
Mr Legaspi said the VHA also wants the Commonwealth Government to step up and fund 50 per cent of the cost of public hospitals to create a fairer funding arrangement during a once in a century pandemic.
As well as ongoing calls to address workforce shortages, the Victorian Healthcare Association is calling for parties to commit to a range of policies to address critical health system challenges. It said Victoria needed to build on innovative changes made during the pandemic and modernise its approach to workforce, infrastructure and funding. Among other policies, it called for:
- new funding models to expand out of hospital care and more use of community health services to reduce avoidable hospital admissions
- a public list of major future infrastructure priorities that are funded or under consideration, so that our hospitals and community health services can plan for the future
- a commitment to extend and increase the Regional and Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Funds to help address increasing pressure on our health system’s buildings and IT infrastructure.
Mr Legaspi said without these commitments, Victoria’s health system is at risk of being burdened by archaic and outdated practices that are no longer relevant in today’s world.
‘All Victorians deserve access to timely and quality healthcare. By committing to these policies and initiatives, the next government will be taking positive steps towards delivering a healthcare system that meets the evolving needs of all Victorians,’ he said.