Community health organization expresses disappointment with state budget

By Molly Magennis

A non-profit community health organization, based in Footscray, expressed disappointment with the lack of funding for community health in the state budget.

On May 3, cohealth released a statement saying that while they support the government’s “health-focused budget”, they felt the community health model, which had intensified during the pandemic, was again being neglected.

The community health model involves the provision of a variety of social, medical and paramedical support services that are combined and easily accessible. This model is extremely beneficial for those who would otherwise struggle to access health care, helping to reduce health inequities.

Cohealth Chief Executive Nicole Bartholomeusz said strengthening the health system requires investments across the health sector.

“During the pandemic, community health services like cohealth have shown the benefits of our trusting relationship with communities who face barriers to health care, such as refugees and asylum seekers, the elderly, people living in social housing and homeless people,” she said.

“This budget represented an opportunity to leverage the unique value of community health to make Victoria one of the healthiest places in the world.

“The community health model offers enormous benefits to those in need and to the health system in general, and I am disappointed that the opportunity to properly fund this vital work has not been recognized in this budget.

As outlined in the 2022-23 State Budget, the government will invest up to $2.9 billion to add capacity and renew infrastructure in Victoria’s health and mental health systems.

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