|The 2018 Victorian Budget contains significant funding for clinical mental health and drug and alcohol services. It will provide for more inpatient beds, residential rehabilitation facilities, improved emergency department responses and targeted suicide interventions.
While the welcome investment in clinical mental health is urgently needed, the future of community-managed mental health rehabilitation services remains uncertain. Victoria has redirected all its community-managed mental health service funding to the NDIS, however not all people in need of mental health services are eligible for NDIS services. The Victorian Government has a responsibility to provide ongoing funding to restore community-managed mental health rehabilitation services.
Regional Victorians have poorer health and face additional barriers to accessing healthcare compared to people living in Melbourne. VCOSS welcomes the budget’s investment in regional health and hospital upgrades, and additional funding for transport assistance to help improve accessibility for regional Victorians.
– 89 new and existing acute mental health inpatient beds and an increase in clinical mental health treatment outside of hospital to help meet growing demand for approximately 12,800 people over four years.
– Six new emergency department mental health and alcohol and other drug crisis hubs, and six short stay units to support people facing mental health or addiction issues. New funding has also been provided for high-care packages and a treatment facility for people with complex needs. The post-suicide engagement program which reduces instances of suicide among people released from hospital has also been expanded to six new sites.
Upgrades for hospital facilities, technology and infrastructure, including:
– Expansion and redevelopment of the Ballarat Base Hospital to include a new emergency department and intensive care unit.
– Expansion of Wonthaggi Hospital to include new inpatient beds and operating theatres.
– Boost to the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund to help improve rural and regional health centres, aged care centres, bush nursing hospitals, women’s health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and palliative care services.
– Building Victoria’s first heart hospital, to provide cardiac care to people with heart disease.
– Rolling out electronic medical records across the Royal Melbourne, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Women’s Hospital to enhance patient safety and reduce medical errors.
Future policy directions
Invest in community-managed mental health services
Invest in preventative health
Reduce public dental waiting times