Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Health system


Questions without notice and ministers statements

Health system

Mr GUY (Bulleen—Leader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Minister for Health. Mandy is 66 years old. She has fallen over several times and has a suspected hip fracture. Recently she had another fall and dislocated the same hip. She is in constant pain, cannot lie flat in bed and spends her nights and days sitting in a chair because it is the only way she can get relief from constant pain. Mandy’s surgeon had originally told her her surgery would be performed within 90 days. It is now over 100 days since she was told this. Last week she was told the earliest she can get surgery is now in November—five months away. Why are Victorians like Mandy still suffering despite the government’s repeated promises and assurances that Victorians deserve to get what they need in their moment of need?

Mr FOLEY (Albert Park—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services, Minister for Equality) (14:02): Can I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. As is my practice in this place when I am provided with specific cases by those opposite, I do not refer to them. What I can of course say is if the Leader of the Opposition were to provide me with the details of this person in a way that allowed us to identify the case and the circumstances and the health service—which has been a little less than forthcoming in some of the material that those opposite have provided me when I have asked for it—we will follow that particular set of circumstances up. If there is anything that we can do based on, as is always the case, the clinical advice, then we will seek to do that with the relevant health service and the individual’s particular clinician.

Insofar as that then informs a general set of issues that I think the honourable Leader of the Opposition is really pointing to, it is without doubt as a result of a one-in-100-year global pandemic with COVID-19 that we are seeing our health system face pressure and demands that it has never in its life seen before—not just in this state, not just in this country, but around the world. That is why as part of our elective surgery response plan—a $1.5 billion commitment that the Deputy Premier and I were able to launch back in April—we are determined to, in a set of situations where not only do we have still 1245 healthcare workers this very day off on furlough as a result of COVID-19, and that is before we then add the flu and the other care-providing responsibilities where we are seeing every day over 2000 workers out of our healthcare system—if you take people out of that system at that level for over 100 days straight now, then you are going to have a significant impact on our healthcare system.

That is why our $1.5 billion elective surgery recovery plan is so important and why we will see as a result of those investments starting to come on the partnerships with the private sector, the new systems in place for how elective surgery will be delivered, the rapid access hubs right across the state, the investment in more theatres and the partnership with the private sector— (Time expired)

Mr GUY (Bulleen—Leader of the Opposition) (14:05): Mandy’s family actually directly contacted the minister’s office last week, directly detailing her plight, but as late as 1.00 pm today have not received a reply or follow-up. Last week the Premier told the Parliament:

I do not want any patient to get anything less than what they need in their moment of need.

Minister, Mandy needs her surgery now. This is her moment of need. Why is the government continuing to ignore her?

Mr FOLEY (Albert Park—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services, Minister for Equality) (14:05): The Leader of the Opposition’s premise is flawed. I did actually check immediately before coming to question time: the 62 cases that those opposite have provided to my office or to the Premier’s office over the course of—

Mr Guy: On a point of order, Speaker, just on relevance. The minister had made a point that I had passed this information to the minister. My question actually detailed that in this case, Mandy and her family have in fact directly contacted the minister—

The SPEAKER: Order! I heard the question.

Mr Guy: I did not pass that on.

The SPEAKER: Order! Points of order are not an opportunity for questions to be repeated.

Mr FOLEY: In terms of how the government and the health agencies all go around engaging with the legitimate issues that many honourable members bring to our attention, we deal with them on the principle of clinical merit.