More Commmunity Health investment needed to keep people out of hospital

MH Chronic Pain Service clients smiling web

Published May 07 2024

Merri Health welcomes the $11 billion investment in our healthcare system and no Community Health program funding cuts announced in today's budget.

However, this budget is a missed opportunity to increase investment in preventative, local healthcare that keep all Victorians healthy, well and out of hospital. 

Most of the new investment – over $8 billion - will be used to increase funding to our hospitals rather than addressing the underlying causes of our unsustainable healthcare system. The more we invest in prevention, the healthier our communities become and the less we will need to rely on costly ambulance, emergency, and hospital services.

Community Health services support over 500,000 people each year, including some of our most vulnerable. But there has been no funding increase in years, despite record population growth and cost-of-living pressures putting healthcare out of reach for many. 

"Access to affordable community-based health is needed to keep people out of hospital and empowered to take control of their health. While we are pleased there have not been cuts to Community Health, there is more to do." Tassia Michaleas, CEO, Merri Health.

Following today’s budget, Merri Health together with 23 other Community Health organisations calls on Government to put Community Health First and invest to ensure Victorians can get the quality local healthcare they need, when and where they need it.

At a time when many families are struggling with the cost-of-living, increased investment is needed in Victoria’s community health sector to ensure every person can access the healthcare they need, close to home.” Anna Robinson, Chair, Community Health First.

“Despite investment in Victorian hospitals, today’s Budget fails to address the underlying causes of our unsustainable healthcare system by failing to invest in proven prevention programs delivered by community health services”.

About Community Health First

Community Health First is an initiative of all 24 registered, independent community health services in Victoria. Registered community health services operate across metropolitan, rural and regional Victoria, operating out of more than 190 sites across Victoria, and supporting hundreds of thousands of Victorians right around the state.