Draft strategy addresses growing demand for health care

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Infrastructure Victoria has today recommended major hospital refurbishments, digital health initiatives, community health hubs and a review of planning provisions for aged care facilities as part of the draft 30-year infrastructure strategy.

The independent authority’s draft strategy lays out a pipeline of new and expanded infrastructure – including investment in mental health facilities – alongside policies and reforms to get more out of existing infrastructure .

Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive Michel Masson said the recommendations addressed pressures on the health system from population growth, ageing population and chronic disease.

“Our forecasts suggest that the demand for – and cost of – the health system will grow exponentially over the next 30 years, so we must be willing to do things differently.

“This includes embracing innovative new ways of delivering health services using technology that allow people to access specialists wherever they live and keep people out of hospital,” he said.

Key recommendations include:

  • Expanding mental health and alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities across hospital and community health settings
  • Reviewing and removing regulatory barriers for aged care developments within five years to enable more aged care facilities to be built in established areas
  • Improving ICT infrastructure to facilitate shared management of electronic patient records
  • Expanding telehealth including video conferencing and remote monitoring
  • Expanding integrated community health precincts in partnership with health providers
  • Major refurbishments or new facilities for specialist and inner city hospitals
  • A new or expanded high security psychiatric hospital within 5-10 years, as Thomas Embling Hospital reaches capacity.

“We haven’t recommended specifically where new hospitals should be located – as the detailed planning is currently underway – but we have highlighted where there are gaps,” Mr Masson said.

“We have also recognised the need for more aged care facilities in established areas to allow people to stay in their communities as they age, and the need for more dedicated mental health and alcohol and drug treatment facilities,” he said.

The draft strategy also focuses on enabling Victorians to be more active through improving cycling and walking infrastructure, providing more green infrastructure and creating shared community spaces.

To read the draft strategy and supporting technical documents, or provide feedback, visit the consultation website. The consultation period closes on 31 October 2016.

For media enquiries contact Anna Whitelaw - 0438 500 294 or media@infrastructurevictoria.com.au