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Health and wellbeing

A healthy community brings substantial personal, community and national benefits, with good health being one of the key foundations for Victoria’s human capital and economic development. Health and wellbeing is influenced by social determinants – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. In Australia, the higher your income and education level, the better your health will tend to be, creating health inequality.

People on low incomes, people in rural and remote areas and Aboriginal people have on average poorer health, die earlier and receive less healthcare than other Australians. There is currently a significant gap in life expectancy between wealthier and poorer people in Australia. Social issues are also the primary cause of chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

Effective health services are an essential aspect of Victoria’s social infrastructure, and are key to reducing disadvantage and strengthening community wellbeing. Preventative and early intervention services are a critical element of the health services system.

Community health services are central to the delivery of health care and are a critical part of Victoria’s health system. Ensuring strong community health services directly contributes to improved health, reduced health inequalities and lower health system costs.

VCOSS is focused on reducing health inequalities and increasing access to preventative and early intervention health services. VCOSS identifies five key factors in ensuring the accessibility of health services:

  • Affordability: Unless the costs of services are affordable, the access by Victorians on low incomes will be limited, even prohibited.
  • Timeliness: People need to be able to access services when they need them. The timeliness of services is critical, as the provision of support when a person needs it can prevent them reaching crisis point.
  • Proximity: Services need to be close-by to those who need them, to be easily accessible. Victorians who do not have access to good public transport, who live in rural and regional Victoria or on the metropolitan/urban fringe generally do not have easy access to services close-by as many local services have been closed and/or centralised.
  • Inclusive: Services need to be responsive and sensitive to the diverse community needs, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians, Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with a disability.
  • Sustainable: People need to be able to access services for as long as they need them. Time limited support undermines the steps forward by a person that this support can enable.

Mental health problems and mental illness are a major cause of poor health in Victoria, with more than one in five adults being affected by a mental illness at some point in their life. To be most effective, it is critical that mental health services are available when people…

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Alcohol and drug use is a common contributor to health and social problems in Victoria, including family breakdown, homelessness, and unemployment and road accidents.

However many people, particularly those living in rural and regional and outer metropolitan growth areas are unable to access alcohol and other drug treatment services when…

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that at least 80 per cent of all heart disease, stroke and diabetes are preventable, as are 40 per cent of all cancers. Health promotion and disease prevention efforts are essential to addressing health inequity and improving the health and wellbeing of…

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The Victorian Government committed to Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence during the 2014 election campaign. The Royal Commission was formally established in February 2015 and is due to deliver its report and recommendations by 29 February 2016.

The Royal Commission will focus on finding practical ways to…

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