Partial elective surgery resumption leaves patients waiting

The Andrews Labor Government had 18 months to prepare Victoria’s health system for a surge in COVID cases. They failed to do so. As a result our health system is in crisis and the elective surgery suspensions have meant more Victorians are waiting in pain, with their health conditions deteriorating.

Today’s decision by the Andrews Labor Government to partially resume elective surgery is a step in the right direction for tens of thousands of Victorians, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Throughout the pandemic, elective surgery has continued to be suspended by the government. This has resulted in thousands more Victorians joining a waiting list that was already at record levels at the start of 2020.

The Liberal Nationals have been calling for a targeted approach that allows our health services to face both the COVID-19 pandemic and safely deal with the tens of thousands of Victorians who urgently need these vital procedures.

It is important that the health system is not overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, but the question must be asked why a 50 per cent cap on all elective surgeries is in place, especially at day surgery centres who are in no position to care for COVID patients?

Such caps only harm thousands of Victorian patients and add to the growing backlog on the waiting list. The Andrews Labor Government must release the health advice that is informing its decision to continue to cap elective surgeries.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:

“The elective surgery waitlist had already blown out before the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing suspensions of elective surgery during the pandemic have left thousands more Victorians waiting in pain whilst their health deteriorates further.

“It’s positive to see elective surgery beginning to ramp up, but it’s disappointing that it has taken so long. It is also worrying that with elective surgery still capped at 50 per cent that many Victorians will continue to miss out on vital surgery.

“Labor must release the health advice behind placing arbitrary caps on elective surgery when so many private hospitals and day surgery centres are in no place to care for COVID-19 patients or other general patients.”