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Submission to ACT Government’s 2024-25 Budget Consultation

Published: 2024

HCCA supports the ACT Government’s provision of safe, high quality, and timely health care. We also support the delivery of a health system that is accessible, accountable and sustainable. We encourage the ACT Government’s continuing investment in improving and supporting services like telehealth, virtual health care, hospital in the home, and Walk-In Centres. Supporting the health and wellbeing of ACT residents also requires investment in services to address the social determinants of health . Effectively addressing the social drivers of poor health in turn reduces demand for acute health services, freeing system capacity for those who need it.

Given the reliance of our health system on specialty services in Sydney and elsewhere, there is also a need to ensure that there are pathways established to ensure that different services work together with consumers and carers to ensure care is coordinated, integrated, and as seamless as possible. This has already begun in relation to children and adolescents, but efforts need to expand to adult patients receiving care interstate and between public and private providers.

With this in mind, we seek the delivery of a 2024-2025 ACT budget that meets significant and increasing demand for many health, hospital, and community services. It is important to continue and expand extant commitments to infrastructure as well as concomitant service development and improvement. However, we firmly believe the budget should also drive and encourage innovation in models of care to meet the evolving needs of the ACT community in a fiscally responsible way.

We know that there is significant pressure on our public hospital system. We consider that appropriate and strategic investment can improve the efficiency of the ACT health system and the effectiveness of the care it provides to achieve positive health benefits for the people of the ACT. With the ACT’s growing population and the increasing rates of complex and chronic disease, our hospitals are likely to remain under pressure.

We are committed to exploring other ways to deliver care that meet consumers’ needs and optimise resource use across our health system. For example, we support the addition of urgent care services into walk in centres. We also suggest that where establishing specific services in Canberra is not economically feasible or safe due to small numbers of patients, the health system needs to formally establish proper care coordination protocols with other jurisdictions that can and do provide the relevant services. An example of this making a real and positive impact for consumers is the implementation of the Paediatric Liaison and Navigation Service, providing support for families accessing interstate health care for their children.

HCCA’s priorities, as detailed in this submission, have been informed by our work with a wide range of health care consumers across the ACT and in particular by HCCA’s members.

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