The Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership welcomed a 12-month funding commitment from the Victorian Government, allowing the organisation to concentrate on finalising vital public health plans.
Last week, the State government announced it would allocate additional funding to the state's 28 PCPs until March 31, 2022.
Grampians Pyrenees PCP executive Suzannah Burton said the announcement was a promising sign.
"A big part of our work is supporting the design and implementation of municipal public health and wellbeing plans with the local governments, also working with our health partners around integrated health plans," she said.
"(The funding) means that we can complete some of our current work. This is a crucial time for health planning; the plans will be in place in October, so an extension beyond June means that we can support our partners in a meaningful way to design those plans and also implement them."
The funding commitment comes at an integral time for health services, with the COVID-19 pandemic shifting the focus on how regional health is delivered.
"I think that while they're still very much in the codesign stage, there will be a greater emphasis and greater mindfulness on mental health post-COVID," she said.
"Through the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing plan, there are priorities that look at climate change. At a local government level, there's probably more emphasis on some of the processes, such as climate change, gender equity and addressing family violence.
"We've recently had some large community profiles developed that look at demographic data; they're quite robust pieces of data. I think it's fair to say that family violence, and violence in general, remains a pressing issue for the Grampians-Pyrenees region.
"We're also noticing an emergence of food security issues. This is something of concern in particular with the finishing of JobKeeper; we're looking at resilience work with the community.
"It's something that we've been mindful of for a long time. I think that it's fair to say that during JobKeeper, there was a reduction in the need for emergency food relief, but perhaps we're anticipating more than anything, that there will be an increase in demand."
Established in 2000, Wimmera PCP is one of 28 primary care partnerships across Victoria, bringing together local health and human services to improve access and ongoing care for the community.
The Department wrote to Primary Care Partnerships last week outlining their intention to work with Primary Care Partnerships to consider their future in the context of the review and recent health system reforms.
The state-wide chair of Victorian Primary Care Partnerships, Gregg Nicholls, acknowledged the Department's commitment to work closely with Primary Care Partnerships to design their future.
"As catchment-based voluntary alliances of health and community service organisations, we have worked together for 20 years to maximise health and wellbeing outcomes, promote health equity and avoid unnecessary hospital presentations and admissions," Mr Nicholls said.
"We also know after 20 years we have to change and evolve how we support our communities, and we have been working closely with the Victorian Government to outline how we can work in partnership to transition to a new model.
"We acknowledge the government's commitment to ensure that the high value functions of PCPs are maintained and strengthened and we are excited to work with the Department, Minister, our partners and our stakeholders to secure the partnership's future."
The latest funding announcement follows a previous funding extension in April 2020 and a similar statement in October 2019.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the region, sign up here.
If you can see this message, you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Stawell Times-News, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and for allowing us to continue telling Stawell's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great town.