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Victorian State Budget 2023/24

Improving access to primary care

Making sure Victorians get the care they need close to home.

Woman with baby talking to a doctor

When it comes to making sure Victorians get the care they need close to home, the Victorian Government has a strong record: delivering new GP Respiratory Clinics and rolling out Priority Primary Care Centres across our state.

But for many Victorians right now it’s almost impossible to get in to see a doctor – particularly one that bulk bills. When you wake up feeling sick, or you run out of your prescription medication, it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t get in to see your GP for more than a week.

GPs are the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government, but not being able to see a doctor affects Victoria's whole health system. When you can't see your GP, you're forced to turn to other services – like your local emergency department or ambulance service – even if you don't need acute care.

While the Commonwealth is investing in a package of measures to address immediate challenges in primary care and lay the foundations for long‑term Medicare reform, we're investing now to make sure Victorians can get care when they need it, and before they need an emergency response.

This Budget will provide $154 million to boost access to primary care for more Victorians, including:

  • $43 million to expand primary health services through public providers in women’s prisons, increasing access to medical officers and integrated care.
  • $38 million so young people can access health assessments as they enter statutory care within the child protection system.
  • $29 million to keep operating Priority Primary Care Centres and GP Respiratory Clinics for urgent but non‑emergency patient care, and for preventative and community health programs, diverting pressure and demand away from emergency departments.
  • $20 million to deliver a pilot for pharmacists to treat minor illnesses like minor skin conditions and uncomplicated urinary tract infections, reissue contraceptive prescriptions and administer more public health vaccinations.
  • $17 million to extend the school dental program, Smile Squad, to low‑fee non‑government primary and secondary schools – so more Victorian students get critical early oral care, free of charge.
  • $8.3 million to support the continuation of Disability Liaison Officers to identify and address barriers for people with disability in accessing health services, and continue the Victorian Disability Advocacy Program to support people with disability.

This Budget includes $421 million for nine health initiatives focused on early intervention. This brings our total investment in early intervention over three budgets to $1.5 billion, which will change the trajectory of people's lives, and is anticipated to generate at least $1.8 billion of benefits over the net decade.

Benefits include improved health and wellbeing, avoided costs from state services, higher workforce participation, lower welfare payments and less out‑of‑pocket health costs to those needing care.

Reviewed 19 May 2023


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