Preventative care cuts in focus at Break O'Day Council meeting

The Break O’Day Council could be set to take the issue of preventative health cuts to the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly.

Councillor Jane Drummond has submitted a notice of motion seeking the council’s support to call on the federal government to restore funding for preventative health services, particularly in rural and remote regions.

“This motion addresses the NGA Theme of liveability, maximising amenity, design and community cohesion,” she said in the agenda.

“The provision of preventative health care funding would allow our community to access locally provided, holistically based health care and attract more residents to rural and remote areas, knowing that they do not have hours of travel to access basic health care services, which are taken for granted within urban areas.”

Cr Drummond said the 2016 federal budget removed substantial funding from preventive health programs while marking the start of the Healthier Medicare package which included funding of $21.3 million for a trial of Health Care Homes, designed for people with chronic diseases and complex conditions.

“The package also created bundled payments and incentives for GPs treating the chronically ill. This highlights the move away from funding of preventative health services and the transferring of funds to the area of chronic health conditions,” she said.

“The removal of the provision of funding to provide integrated local care, which is proven to improve the quality and outcomes of health care over generations should be reversed, and local services given more funding for preventative and holistic care services. 

“Where there are limited health services, the health of the population suffers, where there are large travel distances to overcome, health suffers.”

She said a lack of health care services is a huge barrier faced by rural and remote communities in Australia and can lead to a breakdown in social stability as people move away from family support structures to access care.

“Health services are best provided holistically and in community locations, overseen by a treating general practitioner,” she said.

“Maximising the liveability of the community for tomorrows communities, is the core business of local government. If we cannot work towards ensuring the provision of basic health care services, we face difficulties in attracting new families and in building the community and the economic prosperity of our area.”