Vic fast-tracks elective surgery to beat pandemic peak


Tuesday, 17 March, 2020


Vic fast-tracks elective surgery to beat pandemic peak

More than 7000 Victorians will be fast-tracked for elective surgery in the next few weeks as the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. New hospital beds will also be opened to manage the increase in admissions. The elective surgery blitz will help prevent additional delays for vulnerable Victorians and free up hospital capacity for when it’s needed most.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos announced that the $100 million COVID-19 response package is designed to boost capacity in the health system in preparation for the pandemic peak.

“Our hospitals have been planning for this pandemic to ensure they have the capacity to deal with an influx of patients with COVID-19 and ensure the continued safety of staff,” Mikakos said.

“This elective surgery blitz will not only help our hospitals get ready for the peak of the pandemic, but also help thousands of Victorian patients to receive treatment sooner.”

More than $60 million will be made available to public and private hospitals to undertake additional procedures — such as thyroid, prostate, hernia or gynaecological surgeries — before the predicted peak of the pandemic places further strain on the hospital system.

“We know that when the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its peak our hospitals are going to be busier than ever, so it makes sense to get as many patients as possible in for elective surgery now, while we still can,” Andrews said.

“This is to help avoid longer waiting times now and ensure additional capacity in the hospital system when we need it most.”

The state government said that while emergency surgeries will continue to be performed during the pandemic, it’s likely that procedures in less urgent categories will be postponed.

A further $30 million will be used to commission the new Casey Hospital inpatient tower to boost capacity across Victoria’s hospital system — adding 140 beds in time for the peak of the pandemic.

Built as part of a $135 million redevelopment, the inpatient tower includes an additional 128 beds and a 12-bed intensive care unit, which will help take some of the strain off the major tertiary hospitals as demand increases.

The Labor government will also spend $10 million to boost personal protective equipment supplies in Victoria, including 100 million gloves, 10 million masks and 1.5 million gowns to ensure health workers have the necessary resources to do their jobs.

These new actions will help prepare Victoria’s health system to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Syda Productions

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