Spiritual Health Association congratulates the Australian Government for its efforts in addressing crucial areas of health reform in the 2023-24 budget. We are particularly delighted to see a strong emphasis on building a resilient health workforce and promoting multidisciplinary care teams, as these are vital for delivering comprehensive and holistic support to consumers.
In light of recent findings indicating that 54% of Australians have expressed a desire to receive spiritual care (The Future of Spiritual Care in Australia report, 2022), we believe it is imperative to recognise spirituality as a fundamental domain of health and recognise the invaluable role of spiritual care practitioners as integral members of the future health workforce. This inclusion will ensure that the diverse spiritual needs of individuals are met alongside their physical and mental health requirements. Moreover, spiritual care practitioners also contribute to wellbeing of healthcare workers by providing spiritual and emotional support.
As the peak body for spiritual care in the health sector, SHA has a long-standing history of nearly 50 years in advocating for compassionate, person-centred spiritual care in health services. We are well-positioned to support the government’s investment in strengthening the medical and healthcare workforce, particularly in establishing consistent spiritual care services within healthcare facilities.
To accomplish this, we propose that workforce initiatives encompassing allied health, General Practitioners and Primary Health Networks are inclusive of the professional spiritual care workforce. By working together, we can effectively address the growing demands for spiritual care in Australia. Through these initiatives outlined in the 2023-24 Budget, we can ensure that spiritual care is an integral component of the overall healthcare framework, promoting the well-being and holistic care of all individuals.
We sincerely appreciate the government's commitment to improving healthcare services, and we stand ready to contribute our expertise and resources to support the implementation of these initiatives. We look forward to the positive impact these measures will have on the health and well-being of all Australians.
Read Spiritual Health Association's 2023 Budget submission in full.