'Women's health funding has dropped from $4 to $2 per Victorian woman': Health alliance calls for urgent funding fix

‘Women’s health funding has dropped from $4 to $2 per Victorian woman’: Health alliance calls for urgent funding fix

A number of key women’s health services in Victoria have come together to issue an urgent call to the state government for funding support.

The Women’s Health Service Council features the CEOs from 12 Women’s Health Services who’ve issued the joint plea, representing services across metropolitan and regional Victoria.

They say that a failure to address a funding anomaly has left the sector severely underfunded for years, with women’s health funding dropping from $4 per Victorian woman in 1988, to just $2 today.

They are also urging the State Government to ensure that funding tied to the implementation of the Mental Health Royal Commission also includes dedicated resources for women.

Women are suffering higher rates of mental illness than men, according to the alliance. In all but two local government areas across Victoria, women are experiencing anxiety and depression at rates significantly higher than men. There are four rural and regional local government areas where 50% of women have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

They say that the funding shortfall for women’s health acrous the state is leading to burnout. It’s compromising the provision of essential services and risking poor health outcomes across key local government areas.

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And the Alliance has noted their disappointment that the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Mental health failed to identify the relevant gender gaps, or apply any gender lens to solutions recommended.

“We would be devastated if, for the fifth year in a row, Treasury would enable an effective cut to women’s health services by refusing to redress the historic funding anomaly in this sector,” the group has said via a joint statement through GENVIC.

“Women’s health funding has eroded from $4 per woman upon commencement in 1988, to $2 per Victorian woman today. That is an effective cut of 50% due to population growth having to be absorbed by under pressure women, staff and governance committees.”

The members of the Women’s Health Services Council includes:

Tricia Currie, CEO, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee; Chair Women’s Health Services Council Kit McMahon, CEO, Women’s Health in the South East, Chair Gender Equity Victoria Dianne Hill, CEO, Women’s Health Victoria
Adele Murdolo, CEO, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health

Leah Van Poppel, CEO, Women with Disabilities
Emma Mahony, CEO, Women’s Health Barwon South West Kate Graham, CEO Gippsland Women’s Health
Kristine Olaris, CEO, Women’s Health East
Robyn Gregory CEO, Women’s Health West
Helen Riseborough, CEO, Women’s Health in the North Marianne Hendron, Women’s Health Grampians
Amanda Kelly, CEO, Women’s Health Goulburn North East

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