Minister’s Statement

I rise to update the house on the Victorian government’s very clear message to all Victorians to keep their health in check during the pandemic. I encourage all Victorians to continue to seek medical care when they need it and to keep up with general health checks and routine screening. Putting off a visit to the doctor or hospital if you experience any lumps or unusual symptoms or delaying routine tests could put your health at risk.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where I met Sanji, a father and chef from Boronia. Earlier this year Sanji went to his GP and had a routine PSA test. He was fit and healthy, with no symptoms to complain of. That routine test may very well have saved his life, because Sanji was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His surgery was able to go ahead in May, despite coronavirus restrictions being in place, and his follow-up consultations, including physiotherapy, have been done via telehealth, minimising any risk of spreading infection. Sanji wanted to share his experience to urge Victorians not to neglect their health during this pandemic, and I thank him.

The Victorian government is investing $1.9 billion as part of its coronavirus health system preparedness response. Victoria’s world-class hospital system is well prepared to deal with any further spikes in coronavirus cases alongside its everyday operations, with strict infection control processes in place to manage the additional risk. Victoria’s cancer screening programs have resumed, and they have strict infection control measures in place to make sure staff and patients are safe. So if you are due for breast, bowel, prostate or cervical cancer screening, do not put your health at risk. Make an appointment now. Whether it is a regular screening appointment or you have a worrying symptom, coronavirus should not put you off seeking medical care. If you are concerned about any aspects of your health, it is important to visit a GP, and in an emergency do not hesitate to call 000 for urgent assistance. It may just save your life.