The Victorian Greens have announced a major health policy that would see $1.3 billion dollars invested in beds to help relieve the pressure weighing on our hospital system.
The funding package would be spent over the next eight years and considerably increase Victoria’s supply of nursing home, rehabilitation and geriatric care beds.
ESTA’s delays in answering triple-zero calls is only part of the reason for ambulance delays; ambulances have also been ramped for hours outside hospitals while paramedics waited to hand over their patients.
These ambulances were unavailable because hospitals could not accept patients quickly enough. And hospitals couldn’t accept patients because they couldn’t get others out the door fast enough.
New waves of COVID-19 worsened this long-standing issue, crippling hospitals and holding up ambulances.
The Greens’ proposal would help speed the flow of patients through hospitals by targeting the problem known as ‘bed block’ or ‘exit block’.
This problem means most medical wards hold patients who could have been discharged yesterday or earlier, because there is nowhere for them to go.
Some need nursing home beds, some need NDIS-funded rehab beds, some need lower-level ‘subacute’ care in geriatric evaluation and management (GEM) beds.
That’s why the Greens want to see $1.3 billion dollars spent over the next eight years building and staffing subacute care beds, to ensure hospitals can discharge patients when they are ready to leave, freeing up emergency beds to take ambulance patients and return paramedics to the road.
Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read, said this problem wouldn’t be fixed overnight because staff shortages meant new positions would take time to fill.
Yet in order to progressively increase Victoria’s capacity for subacute care with new beds and the nurses and other clinical staff they require, the work must start now.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read:
“Victorians need to know that if they call an ambulance it will arrive promptly, so we can’t afford to have ambulances waiting hours to unload.
“The Greens’ plan invests in freeing up hospital beds so paramedics can get back on the road, by providing more nursing home, rehabilitation and geriatric beds outside hospitals."