Tuesday, 21 June 2022


Goulburn Valley Health

Goulburn Valley Health

Ms LOVELL (Northern Victoria) (18:58): (1988) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health, and it concerns critical staff shortages at Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton. The action that I seek is for the minister to work with the new federal government to ensure the funding of $19.5 million that was committed by the former federal coalition government to construct the $26.5 million clinical health school in Shepparton is allocated by the federal Labor government and for the minister to commit the remaining funding of $7 million so this critical project is built to help address the severe staff shortages currently being experienced at Goulburn Valley Health.

Sadly each new day delivers yet another example of the current broken state of Victoria’s health system, which is failing to deliver adequate health care under Daniel Andrews and his government. Ageing infrastructure, the breakdown of the 000 system, constant ambulance ramping, elective surgery waiting list blowouts, code reds and code yellows—the problems are endless. The emergency departments are being so overwhelmed that some hospitals have even been unable to physically accept any more patients. Under trying conditions our dedicated healthcare professionals are working as hard as they can and are also dealing with dramatic staff shortages across most of our health facilities.

One health service currently experiencing critical staff shortages is Goulburn Valley Health, which has a primary patient catchment of approximately 120 000 people. Like many hospitals around Victoria, GV Health is operating under code yellow status due to critical staff shortages, meaning the service has been unable to meet patient demand. Recent data shows that GV Health currently has vacancies of 80 FTE doctors at the registrar, intern and house medical officer levels, as well as 110 FTE nursing positions. These are not absences due to illness, these are actually vacant positions at the moment. That means that people filling in for people who are sick are working harder than ever before, because they are also covering for shortages of staff. In addition it was recently revealed that the hospital will require an additional 360 nurses and midwives and an extra 45 allied staff by 2025.

The current staff shortages are impacting GV Health’s ability to provide the health care that it wants to deliver, and both the hospitals and the wider community have long advocated for the establishment of a clinical health school offering dedicated nursing, midwifery and allied health education delivered locally to local students. The school would be developed through a partnership between GV Health and La Trobe University, and I was pleased that the former federal government committed $19.5 million to the project. The clinical health school is a priority project for the Greater Shepparton council, and they have advocated for this government, the state government, to provide the remainder of the funding to make sure the hospital can address it.