New weaker Minister, same uncertainty for Victoria’s Primary Care Partnerships

Victoria’s Primary Care Partnerships (PCPs) and 850 health partners have more uncertainty hanging over their heads after the Andrews Labor Government today failed to guarantee any additional years of funding.

Victoria’s PCPs are again scrambling for funding certainty from a new Minister who fundamentally misunderstands their importance to local communities.

Funding will be cut on 1 July 2021 unless new funding is allocated.

Funding and service agreements for PCPs were set to be cut by the Andrews Labor Government on 31 December 2019, however PCPs received ‘stay of execution’ letters extending their service agreements until 30 June 2020 for a consultancy review. This was further extended due to their work on COVID-19.

PCPs and their 850 partners are the silent hand that supports good health and wellbeing of local communities.

They bring together different organisations to co-ordinate crucial programs to improve Victorians’ wellbeing and mental health. Some have taken a leading role in developing cultural awareness training, while others have undertaken in-depth research into depression, anxiety, psychological distress and higher premature mortality rates following the devastating 2009 bushfires.

Even former Health Minister Daniel Andrews said Primary Care Partnerships do “significant work to help people with chronic illnesses”. 

Daniel Andrews claimed PCPs help Victorians avoid hospitalisation “particularly when people and the health agencies can work together on preventative actions and early intervention”.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:

“With Victorian jobs already lost due to lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, why would the Andrews Labor Government now risk hundreds of Victorian health jobs by cutting this vital health service?

“Victorian PCPs who have done a fantastic job during bushfires, a mental health crisis and COVID-19 deserve the respect to secure years of funding, not more Labor cuts.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy:

“The Wimmera PCP co-ordinated Rural Outreach Worker Program provides the only frontline public mental health support available to people in our region, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the state.

“But this lifesaving mental health program is now at risk of yet another Labor cut.”

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