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The College welcomes the Labor government’s health focus and expenditure in the 2022–2023 state budget, and acknowledges the government’s recognition of the interconnected, complex issues plaguing the Victorian health system.
 
It is widely understood that Victorians urgently require an increase in a range of accessible, timely healthcare services – with rural and regional areas experiencing this need most critically – and the significant investments towards areas of health in this budget are welcomed.
 
The College particularly welcomes the investments in health workforce, including in key areas of mental health and nursing in this budget. There is no healthcare system without healthcare workers, and ACEM has been advocating for workforce improvements for some time.
 
However, the College is dismayed that this investment in healthcare workforce is not extended to other crucial areas, including in emergency clinician roles. The College warns that senior emergency clinicians are leaving the profession in large numbers, often due to burnout and stress linked to dangerous access block.

The premature departure of senior healthcare workers can deprive newer cohorts of clinicians of the ability to learn on-the-job from experienced staff, further impacting workforce sustainability.
 
Therefore, a genuine plan to secure the sustainability of Victoria’s acute health system must include a series of strategies aimed at retaining this crucial part of the workforce. This plan should include solutions to access block that must involve more nuanced, informative hospital access measures, and IT systems that allow all areas of the Victorian health system to work collaboratively.
 
Last week, ACEM met with emergency department leaders to discuss a vital part of this solution: ACEM’s Hospital Access Targets (HAT), an access measure that describes three patient streams and sets distinct targets for each, with a maximum length of stay in an emergency department of 12 hours. ACEM encourages the Andrews government to introduce HAT as an achievable and holistic driver for change across the whole health system.
 
While some of the health commitments in the budget will see improvements in access block, what is urgently needed is a careful and coordinated analysis of the health system as a whole, followed by the formation and implementation of a holistic plan for genuine health reform.
 
With the Victorian election in November, the College is calling for genuine vision, and brave and innovative health leadership, and is committed to working towards this with the party Victorians choose to lead them for the next four years.
 
The federal government also have a large role to play in fixing issues in Victoria, and this federal election ACEM are calling for policies and investments aimed at federal areas of responsibility that contribute towards access block and hospital overcrowding in Victoria, including the NDIS and aged care, with a particular focus on rural and regional areas.
 
Australia’s public health system: It’s not normal. It’s not fair. It can be fixed. Read how.
 
Background:
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training     emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au

Media Contact:
Melissa Howard [email protected] 0427 621 857

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