Growing COVID Outbreak Strains Melbourne’s Hospitals, Ambulance Services

“I called the ambulance at 7:40pm and I called them five times after then up until 11:30pm and they didn’t turn up until 12:30am the next morning,” she said. She called multiple times through the night and was told someone was on their way.스포츠분석

“There were a few times I called and I was crying, sobbing really and I’ve never done that,” she said.

“It was intense.” Ms Mackey said the ambulance paramedics told her they were under pressure because of COVID.

“I knew the system was already struggling, but COVID has definitely exacerbated that,” she said. She was eventually told her symptoms were renal colic and discharged with antibiotics and painkillers.

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicSystem under mounting pressure But her painful ordeal is just one of many for a Victorian healthcare system under strain.

Victoria’s triple-0 system is in crisis, with the deaths of two people in recent days whose emergency calls went unanswered for five minutes. Ambulance Victoria’s chief executive Tony Walker said the two cases were being reviewed to see if the delay contributed to their deaths.

“My thoughts are with the families, it is an incredibly difficult time right now,” he said.

“I don’t want the community to feel like they’re not going to get an ambulance if they need one.”

Professor Walker said paramedics were treating around 200 patients with COVID-19 every day, but that number was expected to increase to 300 in the next week.

Cases of ambulances waiting outside hospitals in Melbourne are increasing as the city’s outbreak grows.
From Monday, defence personnel will be deployed to drive Victorian ambulances in a bid to free up more paramedics and improve response times.

The Victorian government announced yesterday the state’s former police chief will head a review of the state’s overwhelmed emergency call-out call operator. The review of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority [ESTA] follows numerous reports of the authority’s call system crashing, putting lives at risk.

The emergency call operator has come under intense pressure during the pandemic, with calls to the triple-0 service reaching some of the highest recorded levels. Former chief commissioner Graham Ashton is due to deliver his findings to the government early next year.

Meanwhile, there are fears that the peak of new COVID-19 cases remains some days or even weeks away, with social gatherings around the AFL grand final weekend linked to the surge in numbers. The state recorded 1,838 locally acquired COVID-19 cases and five deaths in Thursday’s reporting period, marking the highest daily tally in any Australian jurisdiction since the beginning of the pandemic.

But public health authorities have said the state is still on track to reach the vaccination targets set out in Victoria’s roadmap in order to lift lockdowns.

Learn from the UK, AMA says
Meanwhile, The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned Victoria’s health system needed to prepare for coronavirus patients swamping hospitals well into next year.

While there is a current focus on COVID-19 patients overwhelming the already under-pressure health system, AMA vice-president Dr Sarah Whitelaw said preparations needed to be made for what would happen when the virus became endemic after the country opened up.

Dr Whitelaw, a senior hospital emergency doctor, said Australia must learn from the United Kingdom, where 600 patients a day were being hospitalised since the country reopened.

“[It’s] a slow-moving mass casualty incident in emergency departments in the UK at the moment.

“They are dealing with that every day, two-and-a-half months after the exit wave, that is what we will have to deal [with].”

Dr Sarah Whitelaw says GPs will play a bigger healthcare role as hospitals come under severe pressure.(Supplied: Sarah Whitelaw)
Dr Whitelaw said there needed to be better coordination between state and federal governments, especially given GPs would need to play a greater role in looking after non-acute patients as hospitals were overrun.

“We will not be able to care for people that we would normally care for in the acute system and the load for that, and the triage is going to fall back on the GP,” she said.

However, there is evidence that vaccination is helping to prevent hospitalisations.

Hospitalisations generally lag about a week behind infections, meaning the spike in cases in recent days would likely be felt in the health system within days. Adrian Esterman, the chair of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of South Australia, has said it was clear that cases in Melbourne were rising “exponentially”.

“Hospitalisations are going up, but nowhere near at the same pace,” he said. Professor Esterman said that was an example of “decoupling between hospitalisations and cases”, which had been seen elsewhere in the world as vaccination rates increased.

What you need to know about coronavirus: There are more than 620 people in Victorian hospitals with COVID-19, including 114 in intensive care. Surgeries have been cancelled to free up space and staff to look after the sick.Meanwhile, Emma Mackey said she didn’t blame Victoria’s ambulance service or paramedics for her long, painful wait.

But she said if she was in the same situation again, she would not wait for an ambulance. “I’d probably find someone to take me to the hospital,” she said. “I don’t want to go through that again, it was a long wait. “I wouldn’t want anyone to be in that amount of pain for that long.”

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