MEMBER for Mallee Anne Webster has indicated her great disappointment in the actions of Member for Mildura Ali Cupper in her inaccurate story of the Mildura Base Hospital’s preparedness for the COVID – 19 crisis we face.
Dr Webster was responding to a letter Ms Cupper (PICTURED) sent to Premier Daniel Andrews (yesterday March 24) in which she implored him to immediately return the MBH to public management citing the hospital as being “drastically under prepared for this pandemic” and the Emergency Department COVID – 19 response: “reported by insiders as shambolic”.
“At a time when the intensity of focus is on working together to find solutions, Ms Cupper’s actions do not reflect the bilateral, nonpartisan, apolitical approach taken by most federal, state and local governments,” Dr Webster said.
“The Coronavirus is posing unprecedented risk to lives and I can assure the Mildura public they can trust the intensive collaboration that has been going on quietly behind the scenes between our health services and hospitals.
“Now is not the time to be playing political point scoring on such a vital issue, stirring up fear and mistrust in the community. We have seen excellent collaboration between the Prime Minister and the State Premiers on this issue.
“Between the Federal Health Department and State departments, such as DHHS in Victoria. Dr Webster said that this is the type of supportive teamwork that is required at this time.
“Rather than relying on hearsay and informants, I have met with and spoken to the Mildura Base Hospital CEO Adam Stevenson, the Director of Nursing Janet Hicks, and the Head of Intensive Care and Anaesthetics Alison Walker,” she said.
“In addition, I have spoken several times with the CEO of PHN Matt Jones and his staff to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic plan is being thoroughly worked through.
“I have also spoken several times with the CEO of the MRCC Sarah Philpot and understand the joint work that is being done to ensure Sunraysia residents will not miss out on the health care they need.”
Dr Webster emphasised that the Mildura pandemic plan is complex best practice based on ongoing expert advice.
“This is a time we can rely on our health system which is the best in the world, and our local medical professionals who are absolutely dedicated to the health and wellbeing of all residents,” she said.
“I am impressed with the quality, expertise and commitment of all of those that I have come into contact with. Make no mistake; we are heading into a time of great pressure that will require each of our best efforts to work together as a community, metaphorically standing shoulder to shoulder, while keeping our social distance behaviours resolute.
“Let us all help to buy the hospital team time, by being rigid in our adherence to personal hygiene, social distance and sanitisation. Above all else, please stay home if you do not need to be out.”
Primary Health Care Networks (PHNs) are working with local hospital networks and the Commonwealth to identify sites for the clinics in a mix of urban, regional and rural settings. Sites are being agreed on a rolling basis to ensure implementation is speedy but safe, with infection, prevention and control arrangements the highest priority.
Dr Webster said she has been in discussions with the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt for a number of weeks now, fighting to ensure that Mildura will be a site for the respiratory clinic and will continue to work with the existing combined services based at the SCHS and jointly supported by our GP’s, hospital and health services.
“$206.7 million over 2019-20 has been allocated to establish up to 100 respiratory clinics to reduce the risk of further transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the pressure on hospital emergency departments,” she said.