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Nexus working to create a better health system

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

Nexus Primary Health has joined other community health services to deliver a position paper outlining an improved health system for Victoria.

The Community Health First – Strengthening Victoria’s Health System through Community Health position paper was developed collaboratively between 24 registered community health services, delivering primary care, community-based health and wellbeing services locally in their communities.

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Launched at a ministerial roundtable on July 11 attended by Health Minister Mary Anne-Thomas, health secretary Euan Wallace and Department of Health representatives, the paper outlines three executive goals: delivering the right in care in right places; health not illness; and to reduce inequity and improve outcomes.

The report highlighted the need for health funding had reached ‘record level’ and ‘continued growth is not improving outcomes or equitable access to services’.

Nexus Primary Health chief executive Amanda Mullins, who has been part of the Community Health First Initiative since it launched earlier this year, said Victoria’s health system was facing a ‘funding crisis’, with the community health sector experiencing significant obstacles.

Ms Mullins said the situation at Nexus had not improved this year, with workforce challenges and the increasing need in the community for services that were not adequately funded.

“Community health was relied upon during COVID to continue to deliver our in-home care services and to deliver care such as testing and vaccination clinics quickly in response to community need but now we are in COVID normal, funding that supported that care is being diverted into the acute sector,” she said.

“We understand that the acute sector has a really important role in health care but better investment in community-based care will keep people out of hospital and reduce pressure on the acute sector.

“If we can keep people well through preventative health and wellbeing initiatives we can keep people out of emergency departments.

“We can support people to live better at home and more independently at home, which reduces the impact on the acute sector.”

In terms of improving workflow and waitlists, Ms Mullins said Nexus could potentially increase its workforce but there was not enough current funding to extend services.

“We would be able to service more of the community but as a not-for-profit organisation our funding doesn’t allow us to provide limitless services,” she said.

“We have waitlists for services because of the nature of our funding that we can only deliver certain services and the funding is capped.”

This year marks 50 years of registered community health, bespoke to Victoria services supporting individuals and communities often when they are at their most vulnerable – after fires, floods, and the pandemic.

While the next chapter for Nexus is to keep advocating for better funding to improve and extend services locally, Ms Mullins said the united Community Health First group were working towards their goal of ensuring community health has a seat at the table to discuss health issues and health funding at a parliamentary level.

“It is being acknowledged and [Department of Health] Secretary [Euan] Wallace acknowledges the role that community health plays in the health care sector but we need to work together to ensure funding allows delivery of care locally with the client as the focus,” she said.

To read the full report, visit www.communityhealthfirst.org.au.

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  1. Both State and Federal governments shout support these Medical groups they do a great community service

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