Victorian Premier Dan Andrews was suggested by Australia’s chief medical officer to droop elective surgical procedures final week to permit for the evacuation of aged residents to hospital and the deployment of nurses to deal with the COVID-19 disaster however didn’t act, prompting a tense telephone name with the Prime Minister.
News.com.au has confirmed that Scott Morrison was compelled to intervene and urged Mr Andrews to take motion on Monday evening and once more this morning over the lethal unfold of coronavirus in aged care properties.
The Victorian Premier lastly relented and introduced the transfer at a press convention at present.
There are actually 769 lively instances linked to nursing properties within the state, with nearly all of the rising demise toll now affecting seniors dwelling in aged care.
Professor Brendan Murphy, the nation‘s most senior COVID-19 policy adviser, also privately urged Victoria to stop all non urgent elective surgery last week.
The proposal was canvassed in the lead up to last Friday‘s national cabinet meeting but not formally discussed, as experts raised the alarm over the spread of the coronavirus among hundreds of elderly residents.
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Government sources say Professor Murphy had expected that action to be announced over the weekend as the number of deaths in aged care homes continued to rise.
But instead, the plan to suspend elective surgery was only announced today, after Mr Morrison personally intervened in phone calls to the Premier.
Mr Andrews confirmed the talks at a press conference today where he noted the management of aged care homes was a matter for the Morrison Government.
“I’ve spoken with the Prime Minister. Ministers have been talking. Officials have been talking. It was a really lengthy evening, however it is a important problem,’’ he mentioned.
“I gained’t stand right here additionally and say, ‘oh, well, this is just a Commonwealth Government matter’. We don’t run this sector however the residents in these properties are all Victorians. The Commonwealth Government has requested for assist and that’s precisely what my Government and our companies will present to them.”
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Earlier, the Prime Minister famous he had “been in contact with Premier Andrews, the Secretary of the Health Department, the Chief Medical Officer, the Acting Chief Medical Officer, who has been working closely with their counterparts in Victoria”.
“The situation remains very concerning and particularly in relation to the aged care situation in Victoria,‘’ Mr Morrison said.
“We have just over 80 facilities out of just over 430 in Victoria which have been affected. Not all severely, but some of those cases have been far more severe.
“And I‘ll be returning to Canberra later this morning to engage directly again. Over the course of this week, I had been planning to be in Queensland for the next few days.”
He described the scenario in Victorian aged care amenities as “very complex”.
“You have a combination of the community transmission, which is widespread in Melbourne, finding its way into many facilities and in particular it has found its way into the aged care workforce
“Now, the standing-down, necessarily, of many in that workforce has had a very significant disruption to the provision of care in those facilities. The Commonwealth has been working, including with other states, to ensure that we can plug those gaps wherever we possibly can.
“But I want to be upfront with you – it‘s very difficult and it’s very hard to get people into those positions, particularly given the complexity and difficulty of the situations they’re facing.
“And last night, in particular, we had ADF officers, nurses, being put into a night shift in a Melbourne facility and we were able to arrange that quite late in the evening, about 11pm. And so there is no effort being spared to ensure that we can get the people to the places they need to be.”
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It‘s one reason why Mr Andrew’s claims he wouldn’t let his mum reside in some privately run nursing properties in Victoria, which raised eyebrows within the Morrison Government.
Mr Andrews declared an infection management was so poor in some non-public nursing properties that he wouldn’t let his mom be cared for within the aged care amenities.
“I would not let my mum be in some of these places, I just wouldn’t,’’ he said.
“I cannot stand here and tell you that I have confidence that staff and management across a number of private sector aged care facilities are able to provide the care that is appropriate to keep their residents safe.”
The state’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos fought again tears at present whereas discussing the “distressing” scenario at St Basil’s aged care and the influence on the tight-knit Greek Community.
“As I explained, it is not always possible to transfer everybody. We have very frail and elderly people in these nursing homes and in some cases they have dementia and it is very challenging and stressful for an elderly person to be moved in those particular circumstances,’’ she said.
“But we will always act on the basis of clinical care advice and we have a team of doctors and nurses available from our hospitals who are assisting these nursing homes and assisting the Commonwealth Government at this very challenging time.”
But Health Minister Greg Hunt has slammed the Victorian Premier‘s claim he wouldn’t let him mum reside in some non-public aged care amenities.
An emotional Mr Hunt revealed at present his personal father had lived in an aged care facility within the closing days of his life and he didn‘t imagine casting blame over the COVID-19 outbreak was helpful.
“My father lived in one, yes. It‘s a difficult decision for any family and it’s a difficult time. My father lived in one and we knew that that meant he was in the latest stages of his life,’’ he said.
“I cannot imagine better care that my family and my father could have got and I speak, I think, for hundreds of thousands of families around the country. So, yes. And the idea that our carers, that our nurses are not providing that care, I think, is a dangerous statement to make.
“They are wonderful human beings and I will not hear a word against them.”