Health to the fore as Victoria votes

November 25, 2022

Since the start of Victoria’s 2022 state election campaign, which will conclude tomorrow following in-person polling around the state, the VHA has called for all political parties to commit to policies that will help Victoria’s health system retain and recruit more staff, and modernise services for the future.

In preparation for this election, extensive member engagement and consultation over the course of the year emphatically called on the VHA to develop a policy platform that represents the interests of a unified health sector. As such, our State Election Platform, launched in September 2022, represents our collective plan to address key issues that face health and community care in Victoria, with the aim to ease the burden on our workforce, improve patient care, and prevent hospital admissions.

 

Our platform

The VHA’s State Election Platform platform focused on three core themes – workforce, infrastructure, and funding models – and highlighted initiatives that support and lift the entire Victorian health system. Our community health services will continue to play a crucial role in stopping people becoming unwell by providing tailored, integrated care in community settings and addressing the social determinants of health. As with public hospitals, the community health sector needs greater support and investment to ensure it can deliver the care that the community deserves.

As part of our campaign, we sought nine commitments from the next state government, representing significant areas of reform that need government intervention during the upcoming four-year term. Among other policies, we called for:

  • new funding models to expand out of hospital care and more use of community health services to reduce avoidable hospital admissions
  • a public list of major future infrastructure priorities that are funded or under consideration, so that our hospitals and community health services can plan for the future
  • a commitment to extend and increase the Regional and Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Funds to help address increasing pressure on our health system’s buildings and IT infrastructure.

Our overriding message is that everyone in Victoria deserves access to high-quality public healthcare – you can refresh your memory of what the major parties have said about health by using our election commitment tracker.

 

Our impact

We have built strong and productive relationships with the most senior decision-makers in government, opposition, and other stakeholders to ensure that our advocacy can effect change for the better. We have increased our impact and influence during 2022, positioning the VHA to meaningfully engage with all political parties and candidates for whom it remains clear that health is at the top of the agenda.

We have also successfully reached the broader community through consistent media coverage during our campaign. Earlier this month, our Deputy CEO Juan Paolo Legaspi wrote an opinion editorial for The Age, outlining the need to a new approach to help Victoria’s emergency departments and ambulance service. In this final week leading up to election day,  the VHA has featured in further articles in The Age, respectively focusing on a missed opportunity for healthcare reform and the impact of large numbers of healthcare workers leaving the sector, as well in The Guardian where we called for a more holistic approach to health in which significant funding is directed towards community health services to help keep people well and out of hospital.

 

Advancing members’ interests in 2022 and beyond

Victoria’s public health and community health services need investment and support to ensure they are in the best condition to deliver the care that the community deserves.

Post-election, we will continue to advocate for our members’ interests by taking up our reform agenda with the new government. We look forward to connecting and engaging with all state MPs shortly and to working closely with them to get the best outcomes for public health, community health, and aged care services located in their respective electorates. The VHA intends to be the trusted health policy adviser to all sitting members of the 60th Victorian Parliament.

Deputy CEO of the VHA, Juan Paolo Legaspi, said the incoming state government will have an opportunity to make changes towards the creation of a more sustainable health system in Victoria.

‘As the peak body for public health services in Victoria, the VHA wants to work towards a more connected health system that uses its resources wisely to prevent illness and deliver care in the right place at the right time,’ Mr Legaspi said. ‘We are committed to working with the Victorian Government on this vision.’