Adapting models of care critical to ease pressure on Victoria’s health system

November 5, 2021

The Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) welcomes the Victorian Government’s funding announcement to support out-of-hospital models of care, as new data highlights mounting pressure on our health services.

The VHA’s CEO, Tom Symondson, said that our health system continued to provide high-quality care, while delivering Victoria’s COVID-19 vaccination program and managing peak COVID-19 demand in the July to September 2021 period.

The latest quarterly data released by the Victorian Agency for Health Information shows that there was a 23 per cent increase in emergency department presentations and a 17 per cent increase in the most urgent ambulance callouts compared to the same quarter in 2020.

The VHA’s historic data also indicates that the number of elective surgeries performed has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 47,509 surgeries performed in the July to September 2021 quarter compared to 49,929 performed in the same quarter in 2019.

‘The data shows that our health system held up well during this period, however, we know services are bracing for unprecedented demand over summer,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘Hospital staff have spent the past 20 months at the frontline of the pandemic – they are understandably exhausted and we must do everything we can to support them and protect their wellbeing.’

‘Increasing in-home and community models of care will help to ease the pressure on our health services and ensure they can provide critical, acute care for those that need it the most.’

Smarter use of in-home and community care will be key to both our health system and the Victorian community surviving the pandemic.

‘Investing in services that keep people out of hospital is essential right now,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘We’ve seen some amazing work being done by community health services and GPs to help people stay well and stay out of hospital to date. Now is the time to double down on that.’

‘For the Victorian community, there’s never been a more important time to look after yourself and your loved ones. Go to the GP, go to the dentist, and restart your regular health screening to stay on top of any health issues you have.’