Labor’s health cuts to leave more gaps in rural services

Grassroots programs that support healthier communities across the Gippsland East electorate are at risk of being axed under an Andrews Labor Government plan to cut funding to Primary Care Partnerships (PCPs).
Funding for PCPs will end on July 1, with the Minister for Health refusing to guarantee Labor will allocate long-term funding when asked by The Nationals in State Parliament recently.
The Minister ominously described PCPs as being in a “process of change and transition”.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, said local PCPs played a crucial role in our community.
“PCPs are the quiet champions coordinating better access to health care and services in our local communities,” Mr Bull said.
“Many people have probably never heard of them, but have likely benefitted from their vital work.
“If the Andrews Labor Government goes ahead with its plan to axe them, it will leave a massive health service gap in rural communities that already struggle with access to health care.”
PCPs were also forced to fight for survival in 2019, but after a campaign strongly supported by The Nationals, they secured a funding extension.
Strengthening initiatives for the prevention of family violence and elder abuse, protection of the mental well - being of shift workers, overcoming the disparity in health outcomes for Aboriginal people and reducing the harm from alcohol and drug use are just some of the programs they facilitate or support.
“PCPs pull together a disparate group of local health providers to build healthier communities,” Mr Bull said.
“Even former Health Minister Daniel Andrews said Primary Care Partnerships do “significant work to help people with chronic illnesses”, but his Labor Government is now threatening to axe them.
“Ending this funding threatens to destroy two decades of work to build trust in the community and strong local networks.”
Victoria’s 28 PCPs link in with approximately 600 organisations, including hospitals, community health services, Primary Health Networks, councils, local Indigenous communities, mental health services, drug treatment services and disability services.
The electorate of Gippsland East is wholly covered by the East Gippsland PCP and in part by the Wellington PCP.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021