On 12 July VAHPA and the Victorian Hospitals’ Association (VHIA) reached in-principle agreement on a deal for a new enterprise agreement for stand-alone community health. Two weeks later VAHPA members met to consider the merits of the deal.
After much debate, and with some dissent, the members passed a resolution endorsing the deal. The following night saw a further meeting of VAHPA members (for those unable to attend the mass meeting) whereat the deal was endorsed.
5 weeks after we reached in-principle agreement on this package, e continue to wait on the VHIA and their members (your employers) to provide full clarity on what their intended course of action is.
At this stage VAHPA tentatively understands that 25 of the 29 stand-alone community health centres have endorsed the deal as negotiated; a further 2 employers are likely to endorse the deal by Monday or Tuesday next week. What the other 2 employers intend on doing however remains something of a mystery.
VAHPA Branch Secretary, Craig McGregor, and Senior Industrial Officer, Alex Leszczynski, will be meeting with the VHIA on Thursday (23 August) in an effort to resolve this impasse.
“The time for equivocation has long past,” said McGregor.
“If there are employers who are looking for an industrial blue with us… we’ll have the fight and we’ll win. But, to be honest, I think the workers deserve better. It is time for the employers and the state government to make good on this deal. It’s time Allied Health Professionals were given the respect they deserve,” Concluded McGregor.
The Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) launched its Stand With Community Health campaign earlier this week, on Wednesday 15 August.
Tom Symondson, CEO of the Victorian Healthcare Association, said at the launch that the sector is being “eroded by enforced competition”. We couldn’t agree more. The ongoing corporatisation of Community Health works to undermine the very essence of the thing.
The campaign is premised on 6 key “asks” of the state government:
- Leverage Growth Area Infrastructure Contribution funding to establish new community health centres. These centres would be run by existing community health services and be registered under the Health Services Act.
- Allocate Victoria’s 29 registered community health services as preferred supplier status from the Victorian Government for provision of services to vulnerable communities.
- Establish an annual $60 million dedicated community health service capital fund to ensure existing facilities can adequately support growth and continue to provide a service offering that meets the needs of the community in fit-for-purpose facilities.
- Deliver additional funding to enable community health services to keep pace with demand brought about by population growth and to provide a stronger health safety net for vulnerable Victorians, to help keep them healthy and out of public hospital emergency departments.
- Invest $4 million to fund six pilot hospital diversion projects including supporting partnerships between hospitals and community health services that see people presenting to hospital appropriately triaged to a community health setting, ensuring people receive the right care in the right place, alleviating demand on the public hospital system and ensuring community health services are adequately equipped to support these clients.
- Increase public dental funding to reduce wait time and ensure more people receive dental care in a timely manner, reducing the potential impacts on other areas of their health.
VAHPA is strongly supportive of these “asks” and is of the view that Victoria’s unique and enormously important community health sector (comprising the integrated and stand-alone centres) has long been underfunded.
The launch provided scant detail regarding how these “asks” would be achieved, although the hashtag #StandWithCommunityHealth looks to play a central role in what we understand is a “social media campaign”.
VAHPA has long been of the view that a collaborative approach, between the union and the community health centres, would be of significant benefit to Victorians. Accordingly, VAHPA endorsees the campaign and urges all members to get involved.