Government allows PDH to lurch into another crisis

The Andrews Labor Government needs to stop hiding behind Covid-19 as Portland District Health is plunged into yet another crisis.

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said the Portland community should be gravely concerned about PDH being without overnight urgent care doctors from April 23-May 1.

“Having nurses or telehealth services for acute emergencies requiring airway support overnight for an extended period of time is a recipe for disaster,” Ms Britnell said.

“That’s not a slight on the nurses or staff at the hospital given the wonderful work they do.

“It is a slight on the PDH board and Andrews Labor Government for failing to have proper workforce management in place to ensure essential services are available.”

The latest crisis comes after the suspension of birthing services as well as the resignation of ophthalmologist Robert Harvey, who has spoken publicly about the management problems at PDH. He has not been replaced.

The government and PDH board say they are implementing all the recommendations of the Hillis Report into future service delivery at the hospital, however Ms Britnell said there was no evidence any positive change was happening.

“Services are disappearing before our eyes and this government needs to start taking action to ensure the future of PDH, not just hide behind the pandemic as the cause of all these problems,” Ms Britnell said.

“The Premier and Minister for Health continually say rural Victorians deserve the same level of healthcare as those in metropolitan Melbourne – but they are just empty words.

“Losing someone at PDH from cardiac arrect because there are no doctors available to intubate is completely unacceptable. This is literally a matter of life and death.”

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