I am passionate about many things in life, but inequity and injustice are right at the top of the list. In my role as the representative of Mallee, I am committed to the right of all people to access quality healthcare regardless of their postcode. Mr Deputy Speaker, I will not be silent on this issue until the people of Mallee can access the healthcare they need and to which they have a right. Until health facilities in Mallee reflect the dignity that belongs to its people; until the needed quota of healthcare professionals is sustainably established in Mallee, I will not be silent.
At this present moment in Mallee there is a shortage of hundreds of GP’s, specialists, allied and primary health professionals. In addition, Mallee healthcare professionals are working in some of the worst facilities I have had the privilege to visit. I want to talk today specifically about the Swan Hill hospital.
I visited the Swan Hill hospital recently and was given a tour by the CEO Peter Abraham and Roseanne Carver the President of the Swan Hill District Health Board. They took me through the entire hospital including the Emergency Department.
Please imagine with me a 1960’s facility which services patients beyond its capacity in cramped quarters, where there is little privacy, where staff computers scarcely fit on a side bench and where patients sometimes must receive results in the waiting room because there is lack of cubicle space; where the staff eating area is a walkway, where a maximum of two staff can sit for their tea break which ambulance staff must walk through to find the storage area to lean on boxes so they can write up their notes. Despite these discouraging conditions, what I can say, is that the staff of the Swan Hill Emergency Department are passionate and committed to providing excellent care for the people of Swan Hill.
Mr Deputy Speaker this hospital ED is worse than tired, and I am so proud of the attitude of the CEO and the head of ED and the staff who work every day in very difficult circumstances. I applaud their professionalism and their commitment to the wellbeing of the people of Swan Hill and surrounding communities. I am very pleased that the federal government is committed to a $30 million investment in the hospital, but the hospital needs much more! I urge the Victorian State Labour Government to look beyond the 100km radius of Melbourne suburbs and invest in this hospital and indeed in the people of regional Victoria who deserve much better than this.