Health and human services infrastructure provides Victorians with access to high‑quality healthcare, social housing, safety and support services. Examples include hospitals (public and private), residential aged care facilities, ambulance stations, community health facilities, and mental health services.

Facilities supporting health and human services continue to change to meet the needs of our growing, increasingly diverse, and ageing population. Modern infrastructure can enable the adoption of best practice models of service delivery and new technologies, delivering better outcomes for clients.

Like many other government functions, and the economy as whole, health and human services are increasingly being made available over the phone and online. This trend has only accelerated over the last year, with the coronavirus pandemic driving people to increasingly access services remotely.

More people have used technologies to connect with their health providers remotely, a practice known as ‘telehealth’. Patients have increasingly consulted with General Practitioners, specialists and other health providers over the phone and online. Health professionals have used the internet to remotely diagnose and monitor patients’ health.

We would like you to tell us what you think about telehealth services.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Victorians were asked to minimise in-person visits to doctors, specialists and hospitals. Supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments, many health service providers moved to provide greater access through phone calls and online platforms.

While telehealth services are not new, expanding the use of digital health solutions can provide patients convenient, timely, and quality services in their communities and their own homes. By reducing the need for in-person services, telehealth can also free hospital beds for the delivery of more complex and demanding care.

For those living in rural and remote areas, telehealth can provide greater access to quality care. It can be easier to access specialists that would otherwise require long-distance travel, including those that deal with children and young people, as well as allied services.

Importantly, telehealth is not appropriate in all situations, with some services continuing to require in-person care, consultations and contact.

What are our draft recommendations?

Draft recommendation 21. Use innovation to deliver better models of healthcare (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Within five years, help slow the growth in demand for hospital infrastructure by funding a comprehensive statewide health innovation strategy to promote better models of healthcare.

Draft recommendation 88. Use rural schools for children’s specialist and allied telehealth services (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF)

Retrofit or better use selected rural school infrastructure for children’s specialist and allied telehealth services to improve children’s health and development. Immediately begin with a trial in Wimmera Southern Mallee.

Read more about this recommendation on the Wimmera Southern Mallee page.

Other relevant recommendations in the strategy

Health and human services are a major focus of Victoria's draft strategy. Relevant recommendations can be found throughout, and relate to hospitals, innovation in healthcare, mental health, social housing, and multi-purpose shared social service facilities in regional areas.

These recommendations and the context in which they have been made can be found in the following sections of the strategy (Victoria's Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy 28.9 MB, PDF):

1.3 Embrace technological opportunities
2.4 Adapt infrastructure for modern needs
3.3. Align social infrastructure with better service delivery
4.3 Connect the regions to help strengthen wellbeing, and
4.4 Foster regional Victorians’ health, safety and inclusion.

How can the Victorian Government encourage the use of telehealth to provide better health and wellbeing outcomes?

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