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Dan Andrews FINALLY lifts Victoria’s ban on elective surgery as Covid-19 numbers fall short of...

Dan Andrews FINALLY lifts Victoria’s ban on elective surgery as Covid-19 numbers fall short of forecasts
By Callum Godde For Aap
Published: 22:00 GMT, 4 February 2022 | Updated: 22:08 GMT, 4 February 2022

Victoria will lift its ban on non-urgent elective surgery as COVID-19 hospital patient numbers fall short of Omicron forecasts.

Elective surgery is ramping up to 50 per cent of normal levels from Monday in Victorian private hospitals and day procedure centres as part of a staged plan, Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed.
Category two and three elective surgery was suspended in early January before a ‘code brown’ declaration was instituted in hospitals, as Victoria’s health system prepared to manage up to 2500 COVID-19 patients in February.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalisations in the state has instead fallen from an all-time high of 1229 on January 17 to a four-week low of 707.
Mr Foley said health authorities expect numbers to either gradually continue to reduce or plateau, paving the way for elective procedures to resume.

Non-elective surgery will ramp up in Victoria next week

‘It’s clear that Omicron has put a huge pressure on our healthcare system,’ Mr Foley told reporters on Friday.
‘Whilst we regret having to delay all non-urgent category one surgery, we are now in a position … to cautiously and carefully turn that system back on next week.’
The latest data shows Victoria’s elective surgery waiting list blew out from 67,177 in late September to 80,826 by year’s end, before the month-long pause.

The staged restart is similar to that announced in NSW earlier this week, although does not immediately extend to public hospitals in regional and rural areas.
Mr Foley flagged non-urgent surgery could return to 75 per cent of normal levels for regional public hospitals and 50 per cent in Melbourne-based public hospitals in coming weeks.
He said further resumption of elective surgery would depend on updated health advice next week, taking into account seven-day rolling hospital case figures.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation insisted elective surgery should not restart in the public system until hospitals ended surge staffing models.

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‘The private acute sector must step up and take up more of the public sector burden over the next few months,’ ANMF Acting Victorian Secretary Paul Gilbert said.
The state government has unveiled a $1.4 billion funding package for the health system, including $938 million for public hospitals, $161 million for its PPE stockpile and more than $30 million for critical medicines and equipment.
Additionally, almost $35 million will fund extending Ambulance Victoria surge measures.
Ambulance Victoria recorded the busiest three-month period in its history last year with 91,000 lights and sirens “code one” cases between October and December, up 16 per cent from the same quarter in 2020.

Chief executive Tony Walker urged the community to avoid adding to the caseload for paramedics when possible, as one in five triple zero calls are not for emergencies.
Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the $1.4 billion funding injection was ‘too little, too late’.
Victoria recorded 11,240 new cases and another 36 COVID-related deaths on Friday, taking its fatality tally in the past week to 185.
About 2900 school students and 410 staff tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of term one.

However, the Department of Education confirmed no schools had been closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks or staff shortages.
‘All affected schools are managing their cases incredibly well – with clear emails to families alerting them to a positive case and the details of the exposure so parents can monitor their children for symptoms,’ a department spokesman told AAP.
‘With more than 1.1 million Victorians in schools every day, these cases are an extremely low proportion of the overall case tally.’

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