Community health services are an integral part of Victoria’s primary care network. They deliver a diverse range of clinical and non-medical services, including the state-funded Community Health Program (CHP). The CHP is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and aims to provide disadvantaged Victorians with access to high-quality general counselling, allied health, and nursing services.
In this audit, we examined whether the CHP effectively contributes to good healthcare outcomes for Victoria’s priority populations. We analysed DHHS’s management of the CHP, with a particular focus on its strategic direction, access and demand management, and performance monitoring.
This audit is important because well-coordinated primary care services may improve Victorian’s health and wellbeing, and reduce avoidable hospital admissions.
As a follow-the-dollar audit, we also looked at 10 community health services:
- four integrated health services—Bendigo Health, East Wimmera Health Service, Monash Health and Peninsula Health
- five registered community health services—Bendigo Community Health Service, cohealth, Gippsland Lakes Community Health, Latrobe Community Health Service and North Richmond Community Health
- one multipurpose health service—Orbost Regional Health.
We made seven recommendations to DHHS in this audit.