The Victorian government will look overseas to recruit thousands of healthcare workers who were funded in the state budget on Tuesday.
Up to 7,000 new healthcare workers – including 5,000 nurses – will be trained and hired to ease pressure on the healthcare system as part of a $12 billion investment.
Up to 2,000 of them will be hired through a global recruitment campaign, the government said in its budget unveiled on Tuesday.
As part of these expenditures, there will be 400 additional perioperative nurses, 1,000 nurses and technicians will be qualified and more than 1,200 new nursing and midwifery training places will be created.
The craze, dubbed the Pandemic Recovery Plan, comes in the wake of the pandemic and record demand growth.
The plan will also include more paramedics and training for healthcare workers as well as $2.3 billion to upgrade and build new hospitals.
Another $1.5 billion will be used to provide additional surgeries as part of a Covid catch-up plan, with 40,000 more surgeries next year.
More than 1,125 registered undergraduate nursing students will also enter the workforce each year for the next two years.
Victoria’s peak body for public hospitals and community health services welcomed the investment in the workforce, but warned it would take time for workers to get on the ground and mitigate the pressure on services.
“The shortage of healthcare workers remains the biggest problem facing our public healthcare system,” said Victorian Healthcare Association CEO Tom Symondson.
“The Government of Victoria is doing its part in this budget to increase the local workforce.
“Now the Commonwealth must step up and play its part in creating smoother pathways for overseas-trained workers to come to Australia and fill urgent vacancies as quickly as possible.”
But the government missed an opportunity to increase overall funding for community health services in Victoria, he added.
“We are disappointed that our community health services have not received more funding to keep people healthy and out of hospital,” Symondson said.
The Victorian community health service, cohealth, was also disappointed that community health had been neglected.
“The community health model offers tremendous benefits to those in need and to the broader health system, and I am disappointed that the opportunity to properly fund this vital work has not been recognized in this budget,” said cohealth director general Nicole Bartholomeusz.