Population growth and service demand
Investments producing gains in health and community wellbeing, can also translate into gains in economic and social participation. Health care and social assistance are becoming larger employing industries in our region. Partially driven by population increases, there has been 5% average annual growth over the past decade in the number of jobs in these industries within Melbourne’s west.
There is potential for a health services cluster based in the Brimbank suburb of Sunshine North (around Western Health’s Sunshine Hospital) and in Wyndham, around the northern part of the Werribee Employment Precinct (near Werribee Mercy Hospital).
There has been significant growth in employment in the health sector within Brimbank, with this growth accounting for nearly a third of the total employment growth in the health sector across our region. Sunshine Hospital has seen significant edevelopment over recent years, including the construction of a radiation therapy centre to treat cancer patients and construction of the purpose built Western Centre for Health Research and Education, opened in 2011. There is potential to leverage off these activities and use the existing and newly opened facilities to promote the area as a centre for health research excellence and medical science.
Potential exists for collaboration with academic institutions. Over the past 15 years, significant investment has been made in the Werribee Mercy Hospital’s infrastructure, so that it can continue to meet the needs of its catchment area, which extends from Hobsons Bay to Wyndham and the fringes of Melton. The population in Werribee Mercy Hospital’s main catchment area is forecast to experience above average growth in all age groups during the next decade, with an estimated growth rate in excess of 27% (much higher than the metropolitan Melbourne average of 7.1 per cent).
Yet all is not well in our region and conversely, there is much more to do to raise the levels of health care and wellbeing. The current capacity of health services in Melbourne’s west to meet current and future demand is extremely limited and lacking in terms of the availability of General Practitioners, patient to bed ratios and staffing levels in the Western Hospitals in both Footscray and Williamstown.
Growth in the healthcare sector and associated services has not kept pace with the growth in population. A number of areas within Melbourne’s west are lacking adequate provision of services such as the Western Hospital in Footscray in particular, which is struggling to meet patient demand from an established older demographic in the surrounding suburbs.
Compared to other regions, health and community services in Melbourne’s west are significantly under-funded and underresourced, failing to attract sufficient General Practitioners from the wealthier Eastern suburbs. Thus, our people have poorer health and wellbeing; there is a shortage of doctors; higher unemployment; and large concentrations of disadvantaged people and newly arrived migrants.Strengthening our communities is therefore of the utmost priority and forms the basis of the fabric of our society.
The acute public health services self-sufficiency levels of the inner and outer-west planning areas, are currently below the Victorian Department of Health’s proposed benchmark level of 70% (currently at 54.6% for the inner-west and 60.5% for the outer-west). These figures indicate therefore, that a significant proportion of our region’s population is not able to access essential health needs locally.
Melbourne’s west also has low percentages of private hospital admissions, with the inner-west at 30.2% and outer-west at 25.9%.
To learn more about the targets, priority actions and responsibilities for advancing Community Wellbeing in Melbourne’s west, please download a copy of the Western Agenda (links below).
If you would like to discuss Community Wellbeing with LeadWest, please contact us.
|Feb 18, 2013||Western Agenda 2012-2016 Part 1||5.39 MB|
|Feb 18, 2013||Western Agenda 2012-2016 Part 2||8.14 MB|