Expansion of medically supervised injecting rooms to benefit vulnerable Victorians

June 5, 2020

Important health reform is being extended and expanded, with the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) welcoming today’s announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews that North Richmond’s Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR) is being funded for another three years.

The announcement follows a two-year review of the service, which found the MSIR had saved at least 21 lives, connected clients with over 13,000 health and social service interventions, and had an estimated 119,000 visits since it opened. The Victorian Government has accepted the review and its recommendations in full.

As part of the announcement, the Premier also allocated $9 million to invest in the facility and the surrounding area to improve amenities for the community, while revealing that a second facility will be opened, with a preferred site at VHA member cohealth’s location near Queen Victoria Market. The final site selection requires legislation and public consultation.

Chief Executive of the VHA, Tom Symondson says the announcements made today by the Premier and the Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley are ringing endorsements for the role community health services play in supporting vulnerable Victorians.

‘Community health services pride themselves on being accessible to all Victorians, including the state’s most vulnerable and isolated. This is especially the case with the Medically Supervised Injecting Room, which has saved and improved many lives according to the recent independent review,’ Mr Symondson says.

‘It’s wonderful to hear the Premier acknowledge the evidence that proves medically supervised injecting rooms work, and to see his confidence through further investments in these life-saving services.’

‘Community health services provide an incredibly diverse service offering to meet the needs of their communities, and VHA member North Richmond Community Health’s Medically Supervised Injecting Room is yet another example. While there have been difficulties, North Richmond Community Health should be congratulated on the care and support provided. This additional funding should improve the facility and enhance the local community.’

The second facility is another welcome step to expand the benefits and impact of medically supervised injecting rooms across the Victorian health system.