The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says the Daniel Andrews Code Brown is achieving nothing in major private hospitals across regional Victoria – apart from creating genuine pain and distress.
Mr Walsh said specialists using private hospitals in key regional hubs such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong have protested the suspension of elective surgery.
And now been told by Premier Andrews there was more to consider than the request of a few, he said.
“As soon as we can come out from the Code Brown (emergency declaration), as soon as we feel that it is safe and that we have significant capacity to resume services, that is exactly what we will do,” Mr Andrews told media yesterday.
“With the greatest respect to the surgical community, they do one part of the work, they have got to be supported by teams of people,” Andrews said.
“It is very rare that there would be a surgeon providing care to a patient. Even a day procedure, there are other members of the team and those other members are very high need at the moment.
“We are employing all sorts of people in different ways. But we have significant pressure in the system.”
But Mr Walsh said hospitals have been telling cancelled patients none of their staff have been called on to do anything.
“I have been receiving calls from constituents confused and concerned about yet another Daniel Andrews kneejerk reaction.
“I have people calling me and asking if I can do something to help, but as always this government refuses to listen to anyone.”
Swan Hill parent Debbie White said when her daughter’s elective surgery was cancelled she rang her specialist’s rooms and was told they still have empty theatres and 50 per cent of their staff have been forced onto annual leave as they have nothing to do.
“The doctor’s rooms told me none of the staff have been deployed into the public system,” Ms White said.
“How very disappointing and frustrating for those in desperate need of surgery,” she said.
“My daughter will be fine, she has been tentatively rebooked in a couple of months; but what about the people in real pain, imagine the stress they are under right now.”
Daniel Andrews has defended a decision many medicos have described as a ‘blunt tool’ after Australian Orthopaedic Association Victorian branch chairman Adrian Trivett lashed the elective surgery ban.
“There’s no doubt there’s capacity in the system to continue with some surgeries that are absolutely not life-threatening, but they’re causing disability and pain and they’re not being attended to,” Dr Trivett said.
Gynaecologist Simon Gordon said his endometriosis patients were suffering in “chronic and severe pain” while he sat at home.
“I’m at home mowing my lawns and turning the coffee machine on. Patients come to me and I say, ‘look, I’m not allowed to operate’,” Dr Gordon said.
“Everyone is in the same boat and none of us are doing anything particularly useful … we’re sitting around doing very little when we could be operating.”
Mr Walsh said once again the Andrews Labor government has botched a Covid strategy.
He said planning by panic and then once again blaming it on not enough Victorians having had their boosters is classic Daniel Andrews.
“Surely every Victorian knows by now that the Premier with dictatorial powers never makes a mistake, it is always your fault and mine.”