Today marks the one year anniversary since the new $630m Bendigo Hospital welcomed patients, however the official opening, scheduled for last March was postponed, and has not subsequently occurred.
For a Government addicted to plaques and photo opportunities there have clearly been major failures at Bendigo Health for the local MPs to not have insisted on an official event. Further, the Health Minister Jill Hennessy has not even visited Bendigo since the new building opened as she and Daniel Andrews have repeatedly failed to provide the leadership and guidance required for Bendigo health services.
Over the course of the past 12 months:
• Anesthetic technicians were demoted to theatre technicians, against the advice of anesthetists and senior medical staff, causing massive blow outs in elective surgery wait times and waiting lists;
• Anesthetists withdrew neonatal surgery from Bendigo Health based on the risk to babies of inexperienced staff, sending parents and their sick newborns to Melbourne;
• Microbiology services were outsourced to Melbourne, heightening clinical risk to patients;
• The introduction of the digital medical record has been botched creating delays in patient assessment, management and treatment; and
• IBAC investigated the CEO of Bendigo Health which resulted in acting arrangement being in place for the most senior position for 10 months before a permanent replacement was appointed.
The staff work exceptionally hard at Bendigo Health but they are being frustrated by poor decision making, Board dithering and the failure of the State Labor Government to care or take any action to resolve the issues.
Hospital performance has suffered as a result with most recent data showing (June-September 2017);
• 1,154 patients were admitted from the elective surgery waiting list compared to 1,244 in the same quarter last year (despite additionally outsourcing surgeries to St John of God and Bendigo Day Surgery)
• Only 80% of patients had their surgery in clinically recommended times (down from 87% same quarter last year) and down from 90% state-wide average.
• The time in which 90% of patients receive their elective surgery has blown out from 169 to 248 days.
• The proportion of patients waiting more than 365 days for elective surgery has massively blown out from 1.6% to 5.4% - the worst rate in the State.
Daniel Andrews should explain to residents why they are waiting longer for elective surgery, despite having a new $630m hospital.
Residents in Bendigo and surrounding communities are suffering as a result of diminished health services while Daniel Andrews refuses to take any action.
Quick to criticise in Opposition, now that local MPs Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards are in Government they have also been completely silent on the demotion of staff, relocation of health services to Melbourne and massive reduction on performance of the hospital.