Victoria’s health system is sick, and it’s been descending into a chronic long-term illness for a decade.
That means the lives of Victorians are being put at risk, with horrendous delays highlighted in Parliament by The Nationals last week.
One recent example is a cancer patient, who had an oncologist appointment 20 days after her scan to discuss the course of action for her treatment.
When she turned up for the appointment, the oncologist had alarmingly not received the scans, so the treatment plan could not proceed. Imagine the distress at an already deeply worrying time.
Beyond the scanning dismay, it can take months to secure appointments with both GPs and specialists in regional Victoria, waiting times for elective surgeries have blown out significantly, and ambulances cannot be relied upon.
The elective surgery waitlist in Victoria is now beyond 67,000 patients, and the average overdue wait time for Category 3 patients has risen to 335 days, an increase from 281 days a year ago.
In the past financial year, 1395 Victorians were removed from the elective surgery waitlist because they tragically died.
Premier Jacinta Allan’s implementation of a new health tax, which will raise the cost of seeing already scarce GPs by almost 30 per cent, is pushing many clinics to the verge of closure.
Even the Federal Labor Health Minister has urged the Allan Government to explore alternative models.
The Age revealed late last year that mandatory amalgamations of public hospitals across the state were being investigated by the Department of Health. This means patients in smaller regional areas will need to travel even further to access care.
Just when it seemed things couldn’t get worse, we then have Victorians unable to access an ambulance when they are in desperate need.
Most recently, in Premier Allan’s own seat of Bendigo, it was reported that a patient experiencing severe abdominal pain was informed of a five-hour ambulance delay and advised to take a taxi to the hospital.
Premier Allan can’t manage money, can’t manage the seriously ill health system, and Victorians are paying the price.
Peter Walsh MP
Leader of The Nationals