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VHA hopeful of bright future under Health 2040

Posted 04 November 2015

A health system that focuses on prevention rather than disease, is measured on outcomes instead of outputs, delivers wraparound care, incentivises innovation and is truly integrated both within primary and acute health and across sectors such as justice, housing and planning are some of the items on the Victorian Healthcare Association’s (VHA) wish list in its Health 2040 submission.

VHA CEO Tom Symondson said with the population ageing, obesity rates increasing and chronic diseases now responsible for 90 percent of all deaths in Australia there was no better time for reform in Victoria’s health system.

“Victoria’s health services deliver world-class care but pressure is mounting to maintain the high-level of care we have come to expect and deserve, particularly in the face of increasing financial restraints,” Mr Symondson said.

“We need to be smarter about the way we use our resources by fully utilising the rich pool of data we have at our fingertips and delivering local health prevention and intervention services informed by population size and growth rates, age, health literacy levels and the general health of the community.

“People with chronic diseases need to receive care as early as possible, with ongoing access to support within their local communities. Acute episodic treatment is expensive and is also the least effective method of avoiding hospital readmissions.

“Instead of just looking at bed numbers as a measure of system capacity we should be looking at care that can be delivered in the community and in the home. While our hospitals are critical to meeting the health needs of Victoria, our community health services are well placed to support people stay at home and receive consumer-centred care that is safe and clinically-appropriate.

“But for this to be realised we need to develop a funding framework that incentivises partnerships between primary and acute care settings, facilitates a ‘no wrong door’ approach and encourages innovation in practice by focusing on outcomes, instead of funding services solely based on the number of people treated.

“And finally we need to shift our thinking and put a health lens on everything we do. By reflecting on the social determinants of health in our infrastructure, transport, education, jobs, housing and other planning we will embed real change and create environments that support healthy communities.

“There is great potential for Victoria’s healthcare system and we welcome the opportunity to contribute to its future. The VHA looks forward to working with the government and sector in developing and implementing the Health 2040 policy and working towards strengthening Victoria’s already enviable health system.”

Access the VHA Health 2040 submission here

Media contact: Rachel White – 0438 815 561 rachel.white@vha.org.au

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