Regional hospitals are at breaking point and unable to meet the health needs of sick Victorians, with staff shortages and capacity pressures seeing Mildura become the latest to call a ‘Code Yellow’.
A Code Yellow emergency is declared when a hospital is overwhelmed and can’t meet demand. Albury-Wodonga Health and Northeast Health in Wangaratta were also forced to activate the Code Yellow in March.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said the health workforce was already strained before the pandemic, but deferred surgeries and medical interventions in the past two years meant people were getting sicker.
“Victoria is in the midst of a health crisis and Mildura isn’t immune,” Ms Kealy said.
“Reports that five ambulances were ramped at the Mildura ED on Wednesday night are beyond worrying – Mildura’s distance from other centres means there’s nowhere else for critically ill patients to go.
“Demand is high and the workforce is overwhelmed leaving tens of thousands of Victorians waiting in pain on surgery waitlists, getting sicker but unable to see a specialist, psychologist or counsellor.
“These people are getting so sick they’re having to go to their local emergency department, putting more pressure on ED’s that are at capacity.
“Labor’s been in government 19 of the past 23 years but failed to do the planning needed to prepare the health workforce to meet future demand.”
The Victorian Liberals and Nationals have pledged $750 million towards a new hospital at Mildura, but Ms Kealy called for immediate action on workforce shortages.
The Victorian Government yesterday released its long-awaited response to a report on the emergency Triple Zero call service.
Ms Kealy was critical of the Government’s to release the scathing report in the late afternoon just two days out from a busy Federal Election, despite weeks of shutting down requests for its official response.
“Labor admitted it was handed the report in March. But as recent as last week, the Premier arrogantly declared he hadn’t yet bothered to read it,” Ms Kealy said.
“Victorians are dying while their loved ones are stuck on hold waiting for someone to answer calls to Triple Zero.
“Mildura deserves better. Only a change in government will put the focus back on Victorians.”