Across the electorate of Indi, I have heard concerns about long waiting lists for hospitals, problems getting in to see a GP and concerns about mental health and support for an ageing population. Nearly a quarter of people in our region reported waiting too long to see a GP. Cuts to hospital funding have resulted in people missing out on important medical procedures. In July 2013, two of the three Victorian hospitals that fell in performance were located in Indi, clearly showing the problems we face with a stretched health system.
I am dedicated to getting a better deal for health in Indi. Our region could be a lot healthier and governments must work with the community, to achieve this by listening to service providers and patients, and funding the services we need.
I will campaign for the Government to implement policies that will deliver nationwide standards of availability of GP services per capita to all Australians. There are challenges to providing adequate GP services in regional areas, and while some improvements have been made many rural towns are still far behind our metropolitan counterparts.
- I will lobby for improvements to the national mental health plan to address the gaps in rural mental health provisions. The current plan does not address the unique issues – such as stigma and service gaps – that rural people face.
- I will work with local and state organisations to help create a regional mental health plan. A co-ordinated approach is needed to reach those who currently miss out.
- I will support the development of regional telehealth initiatives. Telehealth offers huge potential for Indi, encompassing preventative and curative health delivery, such as the stroke therapy pilot at Northeast Health Wangaratta. The special needs of regional telehealth delivery must be assessed, developed and implemented.
- I will review the funding formula for aged care. Many regional aged care providers are being disadvantaged by the current funding arrangement. Indi communities need local providers, understanding local needs and allowing residents to stay in their community.
- I will strive to secure more Aged Care Home Care packages. Our region missed out entirely on the last round of allocations of these aged care packages. An improved approach is needed.
- I will lobby for funding for capital works through the Health and Hospitals Fund. Our region desperately needs an upgrade to many of our hospitals.
- I will support retaining local-level agencies such as Medicare Locals and their improvement. It is important to have local organisations that understand the community and can plan for the future of primary care in Indi.