Elective surgery scaled back as health workers warn of rising tension



In an effort to alleviate some bottlenecks, Ambulance Victoria has asked St. John Ambulance volunteers and SES staff to help in the northern region and other COVID-19 hotspots across the country. State.

Taxis and other means of transport will also be used for patients who do not need urgent care. In order to manage public expectations, triple zero call takers will notify people if an ambulance is not available.

“If we get a peak patient load, as they’re predicting, it could happen with COVID, we’re going to need everyone available for that,” Ambulance Union Secretary of State Danny Hill said. “This is literally how bad the situation is. ”

State government figures confirm that Victoria’s healthcare system is facing record demand. Emergency departments treated 479,719 patients in the previous quarter, an increase of 34% from the same period last year. Paramedics responded to an additional 17,535 calls during this time. Demand for ambulances has climbed 26% in the past year.

Health care sources said Age that Northern Health workers were under pressure and that the hospital faced serious staff shortages.

The emergency department has a hundred beds, most of them full. Some COVID-19 patients have been transferred to other hospitals, according to a health source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

A spokeswoman for Northern Health said Thursday her hospital in Epping is caring for 66 COVID-19 patients and will open more capacity as demand increases in the coming weeks.

WADA Victorian President Roderick McRae. Credit:Joe armao

Victorian President of the Australian Medical Association Roderick McRae has said the entire healthcare system is “at war” against the coronavirus.

“The circumstances are such that we can have a stormy asthma disaster and if that happens it will really break the system,” said Dr McRae.

“The system is collapsing under pressure and when the Minister of Health says it’s going to be extremely difficult, the way I interpret it is that there are going to be unnecessary deaths and we have to get used to it.”

Victorian Secretary of the Australian Federation of Nurses and Midwives Lisa Fitzpatrick said health workers were not only tired from blockages, but “bone-weary” from the year’s outbreak last, working in uncomfortable PPE and masks that caused facial injuries, covering their colleagues helping immunization rollouts and being told ‘this is what they signed up for’.

“Emergency preparations are underway for both the reconfiguration of our health system and our workforce,” said Ms. Fitzpatrick.

“But there is no pretending that it will look like healthcare as usual. The Victorians must prepare for it. There is not much we can expect from our healthcare workers. We continue to advocate for any relaxation of restrictions to reflect the state of our health care system at the time. “

Stormy asthma is a rare event in Melbourne, triggered when moisture-laden winds lift rye pollen before a storm, sweeping it through populated areas.

“There is a chance that this will happen every year, but there is a good forecasting system to prepare people for it,” said Ed Newbigin, coordinator of Melbourne pollen count.

Emergency physician Simon Judkins said he was deeply concerned about the impact a stormy asthma event could have on patients and healthcare workers.

“If you host an event like this at hospitals that are already incredibly busy, it’s just a huge stressor on the system,” he said.

“It will again be about preparing and trying to build capacity when the system is already overloaded. This will be the real pinch point when we deal with COVID already. ”

Dr Judkins, who currently works at Echuca, warned that the surge in COVID cases in Melbourne could also have ripple effects on regional and rural areas “because the worst-case scenario is that even half a dozen patients with COVID who must be admitted would exceed the resources of our small rural hospitals ”.

Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Victorian President Mya Cubitt said any increase in demand could jeopardize patient safety in an already strained hospital system.

“We all need to work to find solutions to the challenges we have now and prepare for the challenges ahead,” said Dr Cubitt.

Sydney has had similar capacity issues – in some hotspots, ambulances and hospitals were under such heavy demand last month that coronavirus patients had to be sorted into makeshift units at Westmead and Blacktown hospitals.


Elective surgeries in New South Wales were suspended at private hospitals in August, category three and four operations, such as knee replacements and cataract extractions, canceled to free up staff and health resources . However, the tension has since eased and private hospitals in the state will be able to resume day surgery from next Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Victoria Department of Health said the Victoria Ambulance was preparing to handle the increased demand as the pandemic continued, which included preparing for the risk of stormy asthma as the State was entering the grass pollen season.

“Prevention is better than cure whenever possible and we want everyone with asthma or hay fever to be as prepared as possible for grass pollen season,” he said.

“Anyone who suffers from asthma or hay fever should have an up-to-date asthma action plan or hay fever treatment plan and make sure they know about asthma first aid.” . ”

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