Victorian community health service, cohealth, has praised today’s State Budget for its focus on addressing the drivers of disadvantage by increasing supply of social housing, improving access to early childhood education and boosting jobs and training efforts.
“This is a budget with heart,” said Nicole Bartholomeusz, Chief Executive, cohealth.
“The Treasurer has prioritised the most fundamental structures and systems that keep a society, and its citizens, healthy and well,”
“The historic investment in social and affordable housing along with investments in education for students with disabilities, energy efficiency, mental health and job creation will make a significant difference to the lives of Victorians,” she said.
cohealth also praised the $200 million Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund.
“Establishing the Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund will allow suburban health services to improve the settings where the community receive care,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
“Improving the health of Victorians requires a holistic view of the factors that affect health, including decent housing, gender inequality, action on climate change and policies that tackle racism and other forms of discrimination,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
However, cohealth expressed disappointment in the absence of additional direct funding for Victorian community health services.
“Despite community health organisations showing their value during COVID-19 as the glue that links acute health and community–based care, today’s budget does little to boost their capacity,” said Ms Bartholomeusz.
“We saw the crucial role that community health can play in connecting with hard-to-reach communities and bringing together acute health services and community-based healthcare.”
“It’s disappointing that there isn’t significant direct funding in the state budget to boost the capacity of the community health sector to allow us to produce better health outcomes for all Victorians.”
“As Victoria emerges from the pandemic, community health has a continuing vital role in delivering health and social support to the most vulnerable people in the community, as we have been doing for decades.”
“Intervening early with these populations prevents hospital admissions and expensive acute care responses further down the track,”
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cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.