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Welcome news for health and aged care in this year’s budget

May 2018

St Vincent’s Health Australia – Australia’s largest not-for-profit health and aged care service provider – has welcomed the Turnbull Government’s commitments in the health and aged care portfolios in this year’s federal budget.

“After years of cuts and savings in the health portfolio, last year’s health budget made up lost ground,” said St Vincent’s Health Australia CEO, Toby Hall.

“This year’s budget is undoubtedly a further move in a positive direction. 

“As a provider of 17 aged care facilities in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, we welcome the government’s extra efforts in this area. The number of older Australians is growing rapidly, aged care services across Australia are already at full tilt trying to meet demand.

“St Vincent’s strongly supports the increase in new residential aged care places as well as the extra funding to ramp up the number of Home Care Packages for older Australians who want to receive aged care in their home.

“We are particularly happy with the Government’s extra investment to improve palliative care and mental health care for older Australians in residential aged care. Both are areas of real need.

“And we also welcome the Government’s attention towards fighting elder abuse, particularly expanding health-justice partnerships. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne is a national leader in tackling elder abuse in healthcare settings, so this is an issue that’s close to our hearts.

“St Vincent’s is a partner in three of Australia’s leading medical research institutes – the Victor Chang Institute, the Garvan Institute and St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research – so we applaud the new National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan to fund genomic research projects, medical technologies and clinical trials of new drugs.

“Genomics and biomedical engineering – for which St Vincent’s hospitals and research institutes are at the forefront – are this century’s big game-changer. They will produce many of the most exciting and important medical advances of the next 50 years along with lower health costs, the creation of new industries and high-skilled jobs, and significantly, the commercialisation of new products.

“Australia has the chance to be a world leader in this area and so this funding is extremely good news.

“And it won’t grab the headlines, but the Government putting extra money towards improving follow-up care for people discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt will no doubt save the lives of some of our most vulnerable – it should not go unremarked on.

“But while the Government might have found $40 million to support training for GPs in treating and responding to alcohol and drug addiction it’s left the genuine unmet demand out there for treatment services untouched.

“Unmet demand for alcohol and drug addiction treatment services in Australia is estimated at between 200,000 and 500,000 people over and above those already receiving care. This needs urgent attention.”

Media contact: Paul Andrews 0409 665 495