Primary care partnerships funding yet to be continued by government

By James Arbuthnott

VITAL skill bases and various support networks both locally and state wide could disintegrate if the Victorian Government doesn’t commit to funding primary care partnerships state wide.

Locally, as part of the Campaspe Primary Care Partnership, Campaspe Shire Council is urging the state government to commit to funding past December 31, 2019.

Campaspe PCP deputy chair and a general manager of Campaspe Shire Paul McKenzie said 28 primary care partnerships operate across Victoria and funding security beyond this year has not been provided.

“In the past two years of operation, PCPs across Victoria have delivered almost 300 public health prevention initiatives across the state and coordinated 120 prevention networks, engaging more than 500 health promotion practitioners,” Mr McKenzie said.

“At a local level, Campaspe PCP has 44 member organisations, representing the health, community services and education sectors and facilitate ten local partnership groups.

“They are the glue between different organisations that deliver health and wellbeing outcomes. Using a partnership model, their job is to assist the member organisations to collaborate with each other around the development of a shared health plan for Campaspe and to improve service integration so that the consumer’s experience is seamless, regardless of how many different services or organisations are involved.

“Health planning is the most efficient way of ensuring that all health organisations are working towards the same goals.

“Without PCPs the systems and relationships established and maintained by PCPs will break down and our communities will be the worse for it.”

Another key focus has been improving access to services, producing a number of resource materials to help the community including the rural support wallet card, emergency food and support services brochures, Campaspe directory of health and community services and Echuca Moama early years directory.

“Campaspe PCP has also secured funding for specific projects to benefit our community,” Mr McKenzie said.

Some of these have included the Campaspe Murray Vibrant Volunteer project, Dry Seasonal Preparedness, Loddon Mallee Dementia Pathways and the Welcoming Business Program.

“The current uncertainty will see PCPs lose their staff skill base and could potentially erode PCPs as their staff look for more certainty for their futures,” Mr McKenzie said.

“We understand the Victorian Government will shortly be considering ongoing funding for PCPs and it is important a positive outcome is achieved to ensure their critical work in the sector is continued.”