Community Health Professionals are getting ready for their next round of Enterprise Agreement negotiations amid a raft of major changes being introduced to the sector.
Many VAHPA members in the stand-alone community health sector will have received a call from a VAHPA Organiser as part of our preparations in the lead up to the expiry of your Agreement in June this year.
Members should be aware that VAHPA Organisers will be meeting with delegates over the coming weeks and working with members to set up a series of morning tea events across the sector to progress discussions on the upcoming round of bargaining.
The Corporatisation of Community Health
Over the past few months, members have been contacting us to discuss their concerns about changes to the funding arrangements for stand-alone community health centres, including major changes to HACC funding.
It is our view, and clearly the view of more than a few members, that these changes will see the sector radically transformed. The underpinning philosophy of community health will shift from cooperation to competition; care will no longer be provided in line with the needs of the community but will be driven by the principles of neoliberal economics.
Centre managers are telling members that there will be less time for preparation and planning and that the focus in the future will be on what they call ‘billable hours’. It seems that the Alma-Ata Declaration, so vital to the doctrine of Community Health, is out… and privatisation is in.
This is privatisation by stealth.
The change to a user pays system and billable hours has also seen many community health centres merge with other centres in order to position themselves to attract the lion’s share of work.
It is also clear that the word ‘community’ is no longer in vogue. Nillumbik Community Health… Whitehorse Community Health… Merri Community Health… each has dropped the word community and, we fear, their underpinning philosophy.
In the face of these changes it is more important than ever that Allied Health Professionals band together to ensure their voices and concerns are heard throughout the bargaining process and beyond. We have unfinished business from the last round of bargaining and look forward to addressing those remaining issues this time around.
If you’d like to arrange a meeting in your centre, please contact us on 1300 322 917