Concerns hospital now worse than in ’90s

IN late 1990, I was admitted to the old Mildura Base Hospital for emergency surgery. 

There was no problem getting a bed and no delay getting treatment from the local VMO surgeon on call. 

Both my children were born at the old Mildura Base under the supervision of our family GP who had VMO access.

Personally, I have always found the staff at the current Mildura Base Hospital to be a credit to their professions, providing all the care and attention that one could wish for, at a very high quality.

However, my family’s experiences haven’t always matched our hopes and expectations, not through a lack of care from the staff, but systemic problems, structural problems with the current contractual arrangements.

On several occasions, relatives of mine have spent extended periods, six, 12 and more hours on trolleys in accident and emergency because there were “no beds available”, and the family placed under pressure to discharge to “free up a bed”. 

This is both distressing and exhausting for the patient and the family, adding to the anxiety when a family has a major accident – 

broken hip – or emergency – heart attack.

How can anyone argue that a hospital with no ability to increase the number of beds for patients meets community needs and expectations? 

Kevin Chambers has stated at public forums that at times the current hospital has been operating at greater than 100 per cent occupancy. 

I haven’t read anyone contradicting that. 

How is that possible and how can that be anything other than an indictment on the current arrangements?

That there are problems and challenges with health care in most communities is a matter of fact.

That we should have a major hospital that is responsive to 

community needs is undeniable.

It suits some political interests to have health care arrangements that allow the responsibilities for shortcomings to be obscured.

It seems that concern and commitment to address issues is a matter for oppositions, not governments, on a bipartisan basis. 

Member for Mallee John Forrest and Member for Mildura Peter Crisp were outspoken in their concerns in opposition. 

Labor also seems to be more concerned in opposition than in government.

I have the distinct impression that the extent of specialist health services here in Mildura is comparatively less than it was 20 years ago. 

I have less confidence in the current arrangements involving Ramsay Health Care and the MTAA than I would in a publicly-run base hospital.

I too am of the view that either the PPP model with the MTAA is the best model and all public hospitals should follow that model, or it is not and we should have a real publicly-run base hospital? 

As far as I am concerned, Health Minister David Davis is no better than his predecessor, Daniel Andrews. 

Victorians didn’t change governments to get more of the same.

Jim Belbin,

Mildura South.

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