Victoria health system given $307m boost – 7NEWS

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Victoria’s health system will be boosted by $307 million to free up capacity for hospitals and paramedics, as they deal with significant pressure due to a surge in COVID-19 patients.

New health performance data has revealed the state’s hospitals admitted 71,949 more patients between June and September this year, than at the same time last year.

More than 500,000 patients were admitted during that three month period, 7112 more than the previous quarter.

Emergency departments received 83,042 more patients between June and September than in 2020, and patients occupied 1.389 million day beds in hospitals, about 164,000 more than a year ago.

COVID-19 patients “in particular” are staying in hospital longer than normal, the state government said.

As of Friday, there are 634 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 109 in ICU and 73 on ventilators.

Health Minister Martin Foley has announced the state will boost measures to allow more COVID-19 patients to be cared for in their homes.

Up to $87 million will be used to “free up more than 100 public hospital beds” in Melbourne, including 150 extra staff to assess the medical and social supports that COVID-positive patients need to stay home during their recovery, and transition from hospital to home care.

COVID-positive patients who are recovering at home will be given oximeters and home oxygen units, so their symptoms can be monitored remotely.

Dedicated triage spaces to be create for patients whose conditions deteriorate at home and need hospitalisation.

Another $40 million will boost Ambulance Victoria’s capacity and manage increasing caseloads, including by hiring more paramedics to assist with flow-on to emergency departments.

Fifty-eight non-emergency patient transport vehicles will be funded, as will 13 additional Peak Period Units and another 200 student paramedics.

Aboriginal health organisations across the state will received a shared $12 million to increase clinical sessions, in-home care, and help co-ordinate healthcare with mainstream services.

Extra funding will be given to support patients with a disability, who are currently in Melbourne hospitals and medically fit for discharge but are awaiting NDIS packages and accommodation.

An extra 450 people will be supported by Melbourne community palliative care providers in their homes, which the government expects will free up “between 10 and 20 per cent” of city’s palliative care beds over the next five months.

Geriatric clinicians will be sent to residential aged care facilities to reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

Mr Foley warned “the worst is yet to come” for the state’s hospital and ambulance workers, as Victoria edges closer to more restrictions being eased by the end of November.

“That’s why we’ve prepared early to create as much capacity in the health system as possible,” he said.

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