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    Member for Lowan Emma Kealy.

Primary Care Partnership network under scrutiny

The future of Victoria’s health-partnership network is under scrutiny with the State Opposition accusing the government of neglecting the system.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the government ‘had taken the scalpel to Victoria’s 28 Primary Partnerships’.

Victoria’s Primary Care Partnership, PCP, program, established in 2000, connects health, human and municipal-service providers to maximise community health services.

The 28 partnerships, covering all municipalities in the state, includes Wimmera, Grampians-Pyrenees and Southern Grampians-Glenelg PCPs, which provide a connective system for much of western Victoria.

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Ms Kealy, a former regional health-service executive, said Health Minister Jenny Mikakos had revealed in State Parliament last week that PCPs were far from a priority.

She said as a result the government was particularly letting down western Victorian communities.

“When questioned in parliament the Minister confirmed that funding for all 28 PCPs had been abolished, leaving many ongoing community programs at a standstill,” she said.

“PCPs bring together local health and human service providers to improve access to services and provide continuity of care for people in their community, focusing on better co-ordination among services.”

Ms Kealy said the announcement comes on the back of a long line of failures and funding cuts to frontline health services by Labor since the 2018 election, including dental and community health, women’s health, palliative-care services, health protection and cancer-treatment technology.

“Our three local PCPs continue to deliver a range of programs with recent focuses including rural mental health, promoting healthy living, family violence and Telehealth programs for cancer care,” she said.

“We have fought hard for the Rural Outreach Program and Mental Health First Aid training in the region to fill gaps in the public mental-health system. 

“Without PCPs these programs just wouldn’t exist, which would be devastating for mental-health support in our region.

“In addition to concerns about these community programs being axed, what will happen to the local jobs for those who provide these vital services?

“Health prevention is often the first step to tackling some of Victoria’s serious health challenges.

“PCPs have played an important role in Victoria’s health network for two decades.

“Vital services provided by our PCPs are important to western Victorian residents and we need to make it clear we won’t stand for these cuts.”

Ms Kealy said she was keen to hear from anyone who used PCP services in the region and were concerned about latest developments.

She said people could email her at or call her office on 5382 0097.

The entire September 18, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!