The Victorian Government has today handed down the 2022/23 Budget, which comes six months before the State election.

As expected, health features prominently in the Budget, which is even named “Putting Patients First.”

Key commitments of interest for health consumers include:

  • $4.2 billion for the ongoing pandemic response, including:
    • $522 million to hospitals for treating COVID-19;
    • $258 million to protect and vaccinate Victorians against COVID-19; and
    • $110 million for COVID-19 care pathways and continuing the 28 general practitioner respiratory clinics
  • $1.5 billion for ‘COVID Catch-up’ to improve surgical capacity
  • $698 million for ‘Better at Home’ – to continue healthcare in the home through use of home-based and virtual care models where clinically appropriate and selected by patients.
  • Review into digital connectedness for senior Victorians.
  • Upgrade the network infrastructure needed to support and deliver patient-related services such as pathology, diagnostic imaging and patient management systems
  • $372 million for mental health workforce
  • New public health stream of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund

If you would like further detail on a variety of consumer-related initiatives in the Budget we have pulled together this more in-depth summary.

HIC would have liked to have seen more for consumer-driven medical research and the health of our young people. This will be part of our advocacy agenda as we approach the November 2022 Victorian election. We would also have like to see greater support for those trusted community organisations that represent the interests of consumers and that are critical if we are to achieve the aspiration of putting consumers front and centre in the health system.

We champion the voices of everyday people in all aspects of our healthcare system and represent the millions of people receiving healthcare.

Our commitment to consumers

Our ongoing engagement with thousands of Victorian healthcare users during the pandemic has shown consumers want to be consulted.

Even the government’s new, first-ever Public Engagement Framework (Feb 2022) suggests public servants “Consider working with local government, community members, priority communities or advocacy groups on the engagement.”

We have recently released a report on long COVID. Our ideas on truly putting patients first are here. And our resources to implement true partnerships are here.

Our insights are informed by our ongoing engagement with Victorian healthcare consumers, and we look forward to engaging with you throughout the year to help ensure your views are heard by Government.

HIC looks forward to engaging with government on future policy and funding initiatives that seek to better engage consumers and ultimately deliver better health outcomes for all Australians.