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Targeted investment needed for health system

1 March 2012
AMA Victoria has called for the next State Budget to direct funding to areas of the health system that are currently neglected and under resourced.
“Specialist training programs, hospital information technology and community based care are all in urgent need of additional funding,” said AMA Victoria President Dr Harry Hemley. “This funding will strengthen the foundations of the health system and ensure it continues to provide high quality care.”
“We need greater investment in programs that target marginalised patients including prisoners, the homeless and those addicted to prescription drugs.”
Dr Hemley made his comments following the release of AMA Victoria’s submission to the Victorian State Budget 2012-13.
”Victoria is currently seeing the effects of a hospital system under strain,” said Dr Hemley. “To meet current and future demand our hospitals require additional financial support. Funding should be directed to reducing violence in emergency departments, training the specialists of tomorrow, and improving community based care for psychiatric patients, the elderly and homeless.”
“The continuing lack of suitable information technology in public hospitals is compromising patient care. Electronic drug charts, medication management systems, and patient records could all be held on secure, portable devices, and used at patient bedsides.”
AMA Victoria has called for an investment of $310 million to improve information technology, and $75.8 million to fund a range of programs that will help ease the pressure on public hospitals.
“The abuse of prescription drugs is a growing problem in Victoria with increasing reports of prescription drug addiction, overdose and doctor shopping,” said Dr Hemley. “We recommend investing $31 million in programs that reduce both the demand for and inappropriate supply of prescription drugs.”
“Improvements must be made within the prison system to reduce the high rate of disease and illness in the prison population. Prisons require additional funding of $40 million to improve prisoner access to doctors, nurses, mental health services and methadone programs.
“It is also time for a trial of needle exchange programs in Victorian prisons given their success at reducing the incidence of blood borne diseases in the community.
“These targeted investments in the health system will improve patient care, create a more sustainable system and reduce health inequalities for marginalised patients.” 
The AMA Victoria Budget Submission 2012-13 is available here.

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