On April 1, 2020, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced that a $1.3 billion cash injection had been earmarked “to quickly establish an extra 4,000 ICU beds” as a response to the coronavirus pandemic and to “protect Victorian lives”.
However, when questioned as to the whereabouts of these beds 18 months later, the Victorian Premier infamously claimed “that wasn’t announced at all,” despite the existence of both a press release and video footage of his announcement.
After enduring the world’s longest lockdowns and being repeatedly told to “play our part” to ease pressure on the healthcare system, Victorians should now be asking Mr Andrews: ‘What have you done to ease the pressure on the health care system? And what responsibility are you willing to take for the negative outcomes?’
Victoria’s Acting Health Minister, James Merlino, announced that the Pullman Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD and the Mantra Hotel in Epping would start to receive COVID patients this week.
However, experts like The Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) Vice President, Chris Moy, believe that housing COVID-positive patients in Victorian hotels is not a fit-for-purpose solution.
“And then it’s going to be quite a burden on staff there to make sure everyone is OK.”
With more than 245,000 active cases of COVID across the state and 1,229 Victorians currently hospitalised with COVID, the 4,000 ICU beds that were promised almost two years ago would have provided a lot more peace of mind than the 450 ICU beds that currently exist in the state.
There has been a complete and utter lack of accountability by the Andrews Government throughout the pandemic, which has been compounded by an intentional lack of transparency.
Evidence of this behaviour can be found littered throughout the 500-page report into Victoria’s deadly hotel quarantine bungle that failed to identify anyone responsible for the decision to use private security guards.
Reason being, it is hard to trust science when the public health advice is purposefully being hidden and the State government is blocking Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for this information in court.
The announcement to convert quarantine hotels into makeshift hospitals is just the latest in an ongoing slew of half measures that are barely questioned by media outlets but continue to place Victorian lives in jeopardy.
In response to the announcement of the new quarantine/hospital hotels, Opposition Health spokesperson, Georgie Crozier, believes that the blame for Victoria’s current health care crisis should rest with the Andrews government.
“It is because of Daniel Andrews’ under-investment, lacking planning and preparation,” she said.
“We are seeing our hardworking healthcare workers who are again the ones being put under enormous pressure.”