More Victorians are suffering in pain while the State Labor Government waits to restart elective surgeries in Bendigo.
Surgeons, medical experts, peak representative bodies and The Victorian Nationals have questioned the decision delay lifting the ban, which has been in place since January.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh slammed the Health Minister’s excuse the ban was still needed, after Victoria’s Chief Health Officer confirmed this week that the peak of Victoria’s COVID hospitalisations has now passed.
“Local people are getting sicker and waiting in more pain every day while elective surgery continues to be banned in Bendigo,” Mr Walsh said.
“Despite claiming it is ‘mandatory’ to listen to experts, Premier Daniel Andrews continues to ban elective surgeries.
“Too many Victorians are languishing on wait lists in pain and their health is deteriorating as they wait for vital surgery. This ban on critical surgeries must be lifted today.”
The State Government is reportedly considering easing the ban next week, but experts at the Australian Orthopaedic Association have condemned Labor’s choice to force people who have already waited in pain for months – or years – to unnecessarily wait longer for relief.
Last month, a Code Brown was imposed on all major metropolitan and regional hospitals, including Bendigo Health, to manage a possible surge in COVID hospitalisations.
Mr Walsh supported calls from the Australian Medical Association and Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to immediately restart surgeries at private hospitals.
“Victoria’s COVID hospitalisations continue to fall, yet Labor is cruelly denying local people a chance to relieve chronic suffering,” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews has been Premier or Health Minister for 11 of the last 15 years. He’s got no excuse for failing to fix the crisis in Victoria’s health care system.
“Victorians are suffering in pain while hospital and mental health wait lists get longer. Elective surgeries must immediately restart in Bendigo.
“By contrast, a Liberal Nationals Government will never deny Victorians healthcare and act to cut surgery backlogs so people can recover, rebuild and move forward with their lives.”