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Health and Social Services

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Health & Social Services


Health services in Australia are part of a universal system available to everyone. Although there may be a fee, generally services are subsidized by government. Health services in rural and regional areas tend to be harder to access due to a lack of practitioners and the need in the rural areas to travel some distance to see specialists or access out-of-hours services unless they can be serviced through tele-health.

Community and social services offer support to the public. The support may be information, advice, emotional support, practical help, financial help, or a combination of services. The community service may be run by federal, state, or local government or by a non-government organisation such as a charity. Generally, community services are either free or low-cost. Access to these services is again variable, dependant on location. Generally, in rural areas and to a degree in the regional centres, these services become much harder to access or are non-existent. Where they do exist, travel/cost becomes an issue, especially if multiple services are needed and they are in locations far apart. Certainly, Accessibility, Connections, and Flexibility are important principles in this element.

Current Influences and key principles

Due to CoVid 19, access to services has become more problematic. While an increase in telehealth has in some ways helped overcome access issues, this has not helped those who are not able to access consistent or reliable internet. The impact on employment (as many people in rural/regional areas rely on tourism) has also meant that many cannot afford services, despite them being subsidized.

An aging population in rural/regional areas means more people are reliant on savings or government income and the economy has been slowed, with less interest on savings. At the same time, their need for and reliance on health/community services increase. Governments have been under pressure due to the pandemic, so many services have been shut or scaled back, impacting this element.

Policies Affecting Health & Community Services

There are a multitude of policies that impact on this element. Specific groups that may be impacted include: Children, young people, Women, Men, Families, Senior citizens, People with disabilities, the Homeless, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, Immigrants and refugees, those in crisis (domestic abuse, financial, coping in the aftermath of an emergency), and People with specific health or medical problems. For some specific policies, please refer to Policy Reviews – Southwest PCP


Critical Indicators

Registered Mental Health Clients per 1000 population
General Practice Clinics per 1000 population

Supplemental Indicators

  • Mental Health: Adult Population (%) with high/very high distress on Kessler10 scale – Victorian Population Health Survey
  • Adult Prevalence of Obesity – Victorian Population Health Survey
  • Avoidable Mortality - VHISS
  • Life Expectancy - VHISS
  • Self-Reported Health Status - VPHS
  • Ambulance Reports – VHISS
  • Adult population suffering long term chronic disease
  • Daily smokers (%): Values
  • Clients receiving AOD treatment services per 1000 population
  • Average patient contribution for prescriptions
  • Diagnostic imaging services per 1,000 population
  • GP attendances per 1,000 population

Potential Supporting Agencies and Partners

  • Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre, Beaufort & Skipton Health Service, Casterton Memorial Hospital, Cobden Health, Heywood Rural Health, Lyndoch Living, Moyne Health, Portland District Health, SW Healthcare, St. John of God, Terang and Mortlake Health Service, Timboon & Dist. Healthcare and Western District Health Service
  • Local governments
  • other PCP partners – e.g., AOD, mental health, child, youth and family services, women services, crisis support, etc.
  • Great South Coast Regional Partnership

Current Known Initiatives

  • Municipal Health & Wellbeing Plans and Integrated Health Promotion Plans
  • GSC Region Suicide Prevention Trial
  • GSC Obesity Project
  • SW Healthcare redevelopment
  • Farmer Health
  • Gender Equity legislation

Proposed Area(s) of Focus

  • Leadership for Better Health & Social Service Outcomes
  • Alcohol Cultures Change Minds and Lives
  • Freedom from Violence is our Right
  • Gender Equity Improves Productivity
  • Rural Equity in Service Access and Funding
  • Talking About Mental Health Saves Lives

Submission Form

If you have any information to add to this element, please submit it via the following form: