Victorian budget: Mental health, dental care and rebuilt hospitals

Doug Hendrie

27/05/2019 3:48:36 PM

Free dental care for government school students, restored hospitals and more ambulances are among the health priorities in Victoria’s budget.

Parliament of Victoria
What does Victoria’s budget hold for healthcare?

More than 620,000 Victorian schoolchildren will have access to free dental work each year, the ageing Footscray Hospital will be rebuilt with a $1.5 billion investment, and 23 new ambulances will be rolled out across the state.
These were among the healthcare priorities announced in Victoria’s state budget, which prominently featured hospitals, mental health and dental care.
There was little in the budget for GPs, however.
‘Good oral care in childhood provides the foundation for a healthy adult life,’ Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said in his budget speech.
While public dental care is already available for children 12 and under in Victoria, only 20% of kids use the service. The new $320 million announcement will see ‘Smile Squad’ vans driving to government schools to offer check-ups, sealants, mouthguard impressions, fillings and even root canals.
‘Oral disease is one of the most common and expensive diseases to treat, but it is also the most preventable,’ Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
The budget also includes $300 million for more paramedics, ambulance stations and 23 new ambulances.
In addition, people in regional Victoria will benefit from 500,000 more specialist appointments, a move designed to reduce the need to travel to Melbourne or pay significant out-of-pocket costs for private appointments.
The rebuild of Footscray Hospital comes as Melbourne’s western suburbs experience major population growth, placing strain on the hospital built in the 1950s.
Frankston Hospital will also be redeveloped, with 120 new beds and new operating theatres. 
Other announcements include:

  • $213 million for new parenting centres, baby sleep advice and more maternal and child health nurses
  • $28.7 million for earlier mental health care for more than 7000 people
  • $23.3 million for 28 new mental health inpatient beds
  • $6 million for a new Centre for Excellence for Emergency Worker Mental Health.

budget dental care hospital mental health Victoria

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