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Funding boost for regional healthcare in Western Australia

3 Apr 2014, by Informa Insights

Residents of Australia’s largest state will be able to benefit from an expanded range of healthcare services, after the Western Australian government committed to a massive funding boost worth over $55 million.

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The Health and Hospitals Fund comprises four new agreements with the state government and is targeted at extending its healthcare reach to Western Australia’s regional and rural communities. Some of the key services covered by the agreements include pathology, dental care and kidney dialysis treatment.

It was this latter service that attracted the biggest allocation of the funding, with $45.8 million dedicated to improving renal dialysis services. As part of the Australian government’s Bringing Renal Dialysis and Support Services Closer to Home initiative, patients will be able to take advantage of 17 new renal dialysis chairs and 46 additional patient accommodation units.

Meanwhile, 10 small- to medium-sized hospitals spread across Kimberley, Pilbara, Goldfields and Midwest will be “upgraded and expanded”. With hospitals set to increase their service capacity, it will be interesting to see what role regional healthcare initiatives such as hospital in the home (HITH) will play in the future.

Minister for Health Peter Dutton said that extensive healthcare coverage was essential for a region of Western Australia’s size.
“The Australian government wants to ensure that as many West Australians as possible are able to get the quality health services they need, when they need them, not just in the cities, but across the state,” he said yesterday (April 1).

Dr Kim Hanes, Western Australia deputy premier and minister for health, added that the funding would ensure the state’s marginalised individuals would get the treatment and attention they are entitled to.

“It will be of particular benefit for indigenous families who experience significant fragmentation when parents and elders have to leave their communities to seek treatment,” he said.

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