Healthcare workers join forces to support aged care in Victoria

July 28, 2020

With the increasing number of COVID-19 outbreaks in private aged care facilities across Victoria, and the significant pressures on the existing workforce, public healthcare workers are being redeployed to support their aged care colleagues in the latest response to the global pandemic.

Welcoming Premier Andrew’s decision to use every public health resource at the government’s disposal to overcome the current challenges facing aged care in Victoria, the Chief Executive of the Victorian Healthcare Association Tom Symondson reminded people that aged care is not only a concern for one person, one sector or one organisation, but a concern for all Victorians.

‘With Victoria facing the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes, it has never been more important to work together – across sectors, beyond public and private, and in hospitals, people’s homes or wherever appropriate,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘Redeploying staff from our public hospitals to support private aged care facilities demonstrates the importance of thinking beyond traditional boundaries and focuses on the need to work together to ensure the safety of all Victorians, particularly during a pandemic.’

‘Coronavirus doesn’t care about your age, the suburb you live in or whether you work in healthcare or not, which is why everyone, everywhere needs to do everything they can to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and support those who are already infected,’ Mr Symondson said.

In addition to redeploying nurses from public hospitals, all non-urgent Category 2 and 3 elective surgery across public and private hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne will be paused, to ensure hospitals have the beds, equipment and most importantly the staff available if more aged care residents need to be transferred.

More than 100 residents have already been transferred to hospitals across Melbourne as state and federal government agencies work through the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre to coordinate additional support for the sector.

These massive efforts across the health system mean more than 1,200 spaces for ICU and critical care beds have been created or upgraded so they are suitable for coronavirus patients. This includes almost 800 ICU beds that are ready, with hundreds more ready to be rapidly scaled up as needed.

While public hospitals, community health services and aged care facilities work together to deliver the current response to COVID-19, the VHA continues to work with the healthcare sector to capture system responses and learnings as well as identify opportunities to build a more resilient health system to meet emerging and future needs.