• Loddon Herald

Code Brown critic

Local MP and Nationals' leader, Peter Walsh, has condemned the State Government’s decision to declare a Code Brown across Victoria’s health system.

Mr Walsh said the Andrews government has been in power for seven years – and has had two years of pandemic – to prepare for the numbers it knew were coming; and it has done nothing.

“Andrews’ Code Brown is, pure and simple, his admission of the severity of the crisis in Victoria’s health service.

“Healthcare workers face the prospect of being recalled from leave as hospitals struggle to fill shifts due to chronic staff shortages caused by the Andrews Government’s lack of planning and preparation,” Mr Walsh explained.

“And the man who, for the past two years, has been lecturing us on Covid every day, was nowhere to be seen when this spectacular failure had to be announced,” he said.

“While the panic stations in the Health Department won’t reach as far as regional hospitals such as Echuca and Swan Hill in my electorate; bigger regional services, such as Bendigo, have been dragged into the chaos.”

Mr Walsh said in Melbourne; ambulances are now ramping regularly, dental, and elective surgery wait lists are blowing out and now IVF services are being suspended for months; placing an untold emotional burden on families and the health conditions of sick Victorians are deteriorating further, putting the lives of Victorians at risk.

He said the Code Brown “was code for a declaration, a confession” that indicated just how dire Victoria’s health crisis is.

“Two years ago; Daniel Andrews labelled our health system ‘world class’ and claimed it was ‘well-prepared’ to deal with an outbreak,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Premier told Victorians at the time that his government was putting in measures that would support our health system to manage the pandemic,” he said.

“A surge capacity of staff and 4000 ICU beds were promised. Neither were delivered. Not even close.

“For two years Victorians have had the harshest of lockdowns to enable our health system to be prepared to cope with demands from Covid cases.

“As we enter our third year of the virus, it is now beyond denial the Andrews government’s escalation of incompetence ensures it has failed in managing even the most basic elements of the pandemic response.”

A situation Mr Walsh blamed on neglect and mismanagement from the Premier down.

“It is important our health services are adequately staffed and resourced to deal with the omicron surge – however this week’s Code Brown declaration sadly demonstrates the Andrews Labor government has not just failed to ensure our health system is prepared – it has failed, pure and simple.”

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