Minister’s Statement

This morning the Premier and I announced a $437 million health funding boost as part of the next stage of our health response to COVID-19, and this is on top of the $100 million COVID-19 package we announced on Sunday, bringing us to a $537 million investment to date. This funding will support an additional 45 000 emergency department presentations, 5000 hospital admissions and a further 2000 intensive care unit admissions over the next three months. It also includes bringing more beds online for the pandemic at the new Casey Hospital, at the old Peter Mac hospital and at Bendigo Health—a total of 269 additional new beds so far. Baxter House will be recommissioned to keep regional Victorians safe, with new consulting rooms and treatment spaces at Barwon Health.

Healthcare workers will have the tools that they need to care for sick COVID-19 patients—to buy life-saving equipment, with more ventilators, high-flow oxygen therapy units, dialysis machines and patient monitors. We have boosted funding for personal protective equipment to keep our healthcare workers safe, which will buy 375 million pairs of gloves, 18.6 million face masks and 3.2 million gowns. In addition, this funding will backfill the healthcare workforce if staff need to self-isolate through exposure or infection, protecting both staff and patients throughout the outbreak.

We are also boosting our public health team to enable them to continue disease surveillance across the state, allowing for more targeted case identification, contact tracing, isolation advice and confirmation of individuals who are no longer infectious. With more staff, beds, equipment, PPE and other resources being pumped into our hospitals, Victorians can be reassured that our health professionals have the best possible chance of managing the challenges of COVID-19.