Sector delivers multi-layered response as Victoria enters lockdown

July 8, 2020

With more than 4 million Victorians under ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions for the next six weeks, and large numbers of COVID-19 cases continuing to present across the state, Victoria’s public health sector is facing pressure from multiple angles and delivering services in a wide variety of formats.

From establishing mobile testing clinics and field hospitals, to managing visitation in a constantly changing environment, to transitioning from face-to-face to remote delivery, Victoria’s public hospitals and community health services are working together to deliver a multi-layered response.

As the state works to bring COVID-19 under control, VHA’s Chief Executive Tom Symondson says the healthcare sector is well prepared to meet the challenges; responding to community needs on multiple levels and delivering services in a constantly changing environment.

‘Like so many on the frontline, Victorian healthcare workers are doing whatever it takes to ensure the state is ready to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, and Victoria’s public hospitals and community health services are delivering above and beyond their traditional services,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘Not only are our members preparing to manage the critical health needs of people with COVID-19, alongside day-to-day community health needs, they are also playing an active role in all parts of the response to the pandemic; supporting communities impacted by lockdowns or border closures, providing testing in a variety of community settings, and transforming programs to ensure no one is left behind’.

A testing milestone

Alongside the return to lockdown, Victoria marked a significant testing milestone with more than one million tests completed since the pandemic began. Victorian healthcare workers have played a critical role in this process, conducting tests onsite at existing facilities, establishing pop-up testing centres across the state, and going door to door in locked down postcodes.

Delivering health services across the border

With border restrictions being introduced between New South Wales and Victoria, a number of health services are working to ensure services can be delivered to people living on both sides of the border. Services such as Star Health, CoHealth and the Royal Melbourne Hospital have also been working to continue delivering health services to residents living in public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne.

Workforce challenges

As well as ensuring the system is ready to respond to a potential rise in cases, the health sector is also facing significant workforce challenges. These challenges include staff impacted by the childcare implications of extended school holidays, ‘stay at home’ restrictions, border closures and COVID-19 infections. Public sector residential aged care providers are also managing complex workforce issues, with some tapping into additional innovative services such as Mable.