Minister’s Statement

I rise to update the house on the innovation shown by our health services in continuing to provide the very best care to Victorians during this pandemic. Our hospitals are leading the way in the fight against coronavirus, using innovative technologies to care for patients, to protect staff and to save lives. More than 50 000 telehealth calls have been made on the Victorian government telehealth platform since 30 March 2020. There has been a telehealth boom at the Royal Children’s Hospital, one of the busiest outpatient services in our state. The Royal Children’s is now doing around 70 per cent of its clinical consultations via telehealth. In April 2019 the Royal Children’s did a total of 231 telehealth consultations. In April 2020 they did more than 11 200.

It is not just our metro hospitals that have jumped into gear. Over a six-week period in April and May, Bendigo Health conducted around 2700 telehealth outpatient appointments across the Loddon Mallee region; in the 12 months prior that number was 187. Barwon Health has also partnered with Deakin University to deliver more and better mental health services via telehealth, mitigating the risk of transmission and infection. These are just some examples. Telehealth has become a vital tool in our hospitals’ coronavirus response, and I am committed to embedding these practices in our health services as a lasting legacy of this pandemic.

I thank our health services and our dedicated healthcare workers for adapting so quickly and for continuing to deliver the very best care for Victorians while keeping our community safe.