Victoria’s health system will be further strengthened with a vast range of new measures to support hardworking healthcare workers, treat patients in the community and get more paramedics on the road sooner.
A new $1.4 billion package will ensure doctors, nurses and paramedics have the resources and support they need to continue caring for Victorians at home or in a hospital.
Public hospitals will share in $938 million to help cover coronavirus-related costs, support dedicated front-line workers and continue surge payments for healthcare staff.
Victoria’s PPE stockpile will get a $161 million boost, through the supply of an extra 40 million N95 masks, 30 million surgical masks, 10 million gowns and 10 million face shields – bolstering the first line of defence for health staff.
More than $30 million has been allocated for critical medicines and equipment used to treat patients, including pulse oximeters, humidifiers and air purifiers.
A further $225 million will go towards easing the pressure on hospitals and ambulances, including:
• $196 million to expand the COVID Positive Pathways program, which has helped more than half a million
people safely recover at home since launching
• $21 million to implement a state-wide virtual triage service, following a successful trial at Northern
Hospital – which led to 87 per cent of virtually assessed patients avoiding transportation to hospital
• Almost $8 million to fund eight additional GP respiratory clinics and establish five urgent care centres
To support Ambulance Victoria as it faces record demand, almost $35 million will extend surge measures put in place last year, while the recruitment of 120 paramedics will be brought forward.
A further $11.5 million will be used to reduce the delay in discharging medically-well COVID-19 positive patients from hospital by improving patient transport across 13 sites.
Depending on case numbers and hospitalisations, the Minister for Health will consider resuming elective surgery in a number of steps, based on advice from the health sector and health experts. From Monday, 7 February, private hospitals and day procedure centres will be able to resume day surgery at up to 50 per cent of normal levels.