Budget brings major investment in health

November 24, 2020

Whether accessing expanded and modernised hospitals and health services across our state, healthcare at home or health services in the community, Victorians are set to benefit from a $9 billion investment; helping the health sector emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.

The funding, which includes more than $2 billion to build, expand and modernise hospitals and community health services across the state, was welcomed by the VHA, with Chief Executive Tom Symondson saying he is pleased to see the government helping the sector build on lessons from the pandemic.

‘The pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of the health sector to all Victorians and the significant investment outlined in today’s budget will help ensure our sector has the people, infrastructure and funding needed to deliver vital healthcare for the Victorian community, no matter where they live,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘We are pleased to see the Victorian Government investing in healthcare across the state, from small rural facilities to our largest metro hospitals, from drug and alcohol services to public sector aged care, and it is a sign of the potential to transform the health sector for years to come. It is also important to see the investment occurring in all facets of the health sector, including community health, aged care and oral health.’

The public health system response to COVID-19 will be bolstered by an injection of over $2.9 billion to allow health workers and services to meet pandemic-induced demand for care and strengthen ongoing management of any future COVID-19 spread through increased testing capacity and optimisation of pathology and supply chain processes.

The Victorian Budget 2020/21 includes a range of vital capital improvement projects, including over $1 billion in 2018 election spending commitments, with funding to support the redevelopment and expansion of Frankston Hospital, Latrobe Regional Hospital and Angliss Hospital, and others. The rural and regional health infrastructure fund has received $120 million, while $300 million has been provided for an elective surgery blitz.

Another exciting addition is a new $200 million Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund created to invest in our hospital and community health infrastructure so that services can continue to respond to the needs of their local communities.

A $240 million investment for social services to respond to COVID-19 will help to deliver critical initiatives to address increased demand for services such as family violence, homelessness, and food relief to support those experiencing hardship. An additional $21.2 million for family violence therapeutic interventions will provide flexible support packages for children, young people and adults impacted by family violence.

The pivotal role of Victoria’s public aged care sector has been recognised with additional funding of $27.6 million for public sector residential aged care services to continue to provide high-quality care to vulnerable aged Victorians, including those with mental health issues, and assist in meeting nurse to patient ratios in public sector residential aged care.

Following the recent independent review which showed the supervised injecting room in North Richmond has saved and improved many lives, $5.4 million, over the next two years, will support the implementation of responses to the review, including the establishment of a second supervised injecting room in the City of Melbourne.

The funding announced today follows earlier announcements to bring more healthcare into the home and more than a $1 billion for mental health, which the VHA welcomed here.

The VHA will continue to work closely with members to ensure they are supported to deliver the essential care that has been so vital for Victorians during this tumultuous year.