Prevention is better than cure – embedding community health in the Victorian system

September 14, 2022

Community health services are best placed to relieve health system pressures and reduce health expenditure by providing care in the community.

The community health sector is a uniquely Victorian asset, delivering a range of services across the state. As local services, community health services have a deep knowledge of their local communities and provide tailored, integrated care in settings that are familiar, welcoming and accessible.

Importantly, they provide care that addresses the social determinants of health to stop people from getting sick in the first place.

That’s why the Victorian Healthcare Association is calling for community health services to be recognised, formalised and appropriately funded in Victoria’s public health system as part of its election campaign.

‘With increasing demand for acute services, health funding needs to encourage greater care in the community – so that urgent care is available to those that need it,’ VHA Deputy CEO Juan Paolo Legaspi said.

‘Keeping Victorians healthy and out of hospital will lead to benefits in the long term – and community health services are best placed to provide this care.’

‘By adequately funding community health services to deliver prevention and health promotion programs and early intervention services, the government will be helping people to manage chronic diseases at home and preventing illnesses from escalating to a point where hospital care is required.’

As well as the policy asks in its recently published election platform, the VHA is seeking for community health services to be formally recognised as the preferred delivery partner of preventive healthcare in Victoria, and to have representation on the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce.

A VHA briefing Keeping Victorians healthy and out of hospital: The role of community health services was prepared to help the current and future Victorian Government understand the role of community health services – and how they could be embedded as the key sector that helps to keep Victorians healthy through disease prevention, early intervention and chronic disease management.

The Victorian Council of Social Services joins the VHA in calling for an expansion of the role of community health services to reduce avoidable hospital admissions as part of its election platform.

To achieve this, the strengths of community health services need to be recognised and their role formally embedded in Victoria’s health system.

Read our election documents: