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September 2021

Record demand for emergency healthcare continues

Victoria’s hard-working doctors, nurses and paramedics are rising to the challenge of record demand with more and more Victorians seeking emergency care throughout the pandemic.

The Victorian Health Services Performance Report for the 2020/21 April-June quarter shows the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt across emergency departments and ambulance services across Victoria.

Ambulance Victoria and hospital emergency departments experienced their busiest April–June quarter on record.

It was the second busiest quarter ever for ambulances and third busiest for emergency departments.

To meet this demand, the State Government is investing $759 million for more nurses and hospital beds, an expansion of telehealth, more paramedics and ambulances on the road, as well as upgrades to boost capacity and support flow through busy emergency departments.

This package will deliver 300 more paramedics, triage nurses and support staff for Ambulance Victoria.

In the latest quarter, paramedics responded to an extra 17,535 call-outs – with 84,441 calls for the quarter, compared with 68,906 for the same quarter last year – a 26.2 per cent increase.

Hospital emergency departments cared for 479,719 patients in the quarter, an increase of 34.2 per cent from the same period last year.

As well, there were improvements in the percentage of patients treated within the recommended time across all emergency care treatment categories.

The sickest category one patients were all seen immediately.

Victorian hospitals are also performing more elective surgeries – and faster – with 45,947 patients receiving their surgeries in the quarter – 3.7 per cent more than the previous quarter.

The median time to treatment for all elective surgery patients was 31 days – eight days less than the previous quarter.

‘We are investing more than $759 million to deliver more paramedics, more beds and new types of triage, to help Victoria recover faster and ensure our community continues to get the care they deserve,’ said Minister for Health Martin Foley.