July 21st, 2022To your health
IN THE last edition of The Local, journalist Kevin Childs wrote of the sick state of the health system.
He talked, anonymously, to a number of healthcare workers who outlined myriad examples of people being badly let down by the system.
At the time, Kevin and editor Donna Kelly both wrote to ministerial staffers of Health and Ambulance Minister, and Macedon MP, Mary-Anne Thomas offering right of reply – sending the entire article one and two weeks prior to publication. No reply came before deadline.
After publication, Ms Kelly was contacted by a ministerial staffer who said the emails could not be found. The staffer then said there had been some changes in the public relations area of the new minister and asked for the email to be sent again to four separate email addresses.
The staffer then wrote back and asked for specific questions. Ms Kelly sent this:
“As Kevin has outlined we have been given many examples of the health system not working. So, how are you going to fix the system?
“Will the average person be able to get the treatment they need, Covid or otherwise? What is the next step in the pandemic – will you mandate masks as epidemiologists have asked for?
“What credibility does the average person put into the health system? When will ambulance ramping stop? When will a fourth vaccine be available for all those who want them knowing that the vaccine wanes after four months?
“Finally, a story from this week, a bloke living in Daylesford calls 000 and gets an ambulance crew turning up because he is close to dying with Covid. He asks to go to hospital for monitoring because he lives alone but is told he will be on a chair if he goes in for the night. When will that stop?”
The staffer replied last Wednesday with the following, attributable to a Victorian Government spokesperson.
“Every health system around the country has been under unprecedented pressure and we’re investing billions to get it back on track as quickly as possible and help manage the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 global pandemic, deferred care and a spike in influenza cases.
“The $12 billion Pandemic Repair Plan is delivering record levels of funding and resourcing to expand and upgrade our hospitals, improve patient care, reduce the surgery waitlist and ensure staff are well supported. This includes a $1.5 billion investment to increase surgical activity beyond pre-pandemic levels by providing 40,000 extra surgeries in the next year – reducing the waitlist and building up to a record 240,000 surgeries annually by 2024.
“Our Pandemic Repair Plan includes getting more paramedics on the road, more Triple Zero call takers, expanding emergency departments and the training and recruitment of up to 7000 healthcare workers to reinforce our health system.
“We’ve invested heavily in system changes and new and expanded programs like Better at Home, Covid Positive Pathways and the Virtual Emergency Department run out of Northern Hospital. They all work to increase bed availability in our hospitals, decrease pressure on emergency departments and ease ramping issues.
“The Pandemic Repair Plan will include: Training and hiring up to 7000 healthcare workers, of which 5000 are nurses; More paramedics, more support for paramedics and increased capacity for Triple Zero call-takers and dispatchers; An unprecedented package to recruit, train, upskill and support healthcare workers across the sector, helping relieve pressure on the system and improving care for all Victorians; $2.3 billion to upgrade and build new hospitals, including $236 million to double emergency department capacity in Casey and Werribee; A record investment in surgical capacity across the state to give Victorians the specialist care they need before they end up in the emergency department; and Funding to manage the pandemic across our health system and in the community into the future.
“The Department strongly encourages Victorians to remain up to date with their vaccines, in particular people eligible for third and fourth doses, and to stay home if unwell and test for Covid-19.The wearing of masks and measures to make indoor air safer will have a significant impact in reducing transmission of the BA.4/5 sub-variants and help to reduce the demand on our health system.
“Masks are strongly recommended in shared indoor settings, if you can’t physically distance or you are with those more vulnerable to Covid-19. Improve ventilation by opening doors and windows, using fans or purifiers, and gathering outside where possible.
“Face masks are still required for everyone aged eight and above in some locations, including on public transport, rideshares and taxis, and in sensitive settings such as hospitals and care facilities. They are also required by household contacts in quarantine who meet the criteria for leaving home.”
Got a comment: firstname.lastname@example.org