5.9k Share this
Victoria has activated a Code Brown emergency measure across all Melbourne public hospitals and major regional facilities as the healthcare system continues to buckle under pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the first time the emergency measure has been declared system-wide across the state.

The Code Brown will take effect from midday tomorrow in a bid to relieve the significant strain on the hospital system, which could include asking staff to defer leave.

A Code Brown measure has been activated in Victoria. (Nine)

The regional hospital services that will activate Code Brown include Barwon Health, Grampians Health, Bendigo Health, Goulburn Valley Health, Albury Wodonga Health and La Trobe Regional Hospital.

Deputy Premier James Merlino said hospitals had to “act now” rather than risk the situation getting direr.

“We’ve been saying for some time that our hospital system is under extreme pressure and the risks we’re seeing now in hospitalisations are testament to that,” he said.

“We’ve reached a point in our health system where it’s juggling severe workforce shortages.

“It is the right time to do it now, not wait for a Code Brown until two or three weeks down the track when we’re seeing the impact of the peak of Omicron hospitalisations and ICU patients.”

There are currently more than 4000 healthcare workers unable to work due to COVID-19 isolation requirements, with about 5000 absent from work every day on average.

Victoria’s COVID-19 hospitalisations could soar to over 2500 patients in the next few weeks when the hospital peak is expected to be reached.

Deputy State Controller Adam Horsborough said health services have been considering calling a Code Brown for some time, but believed now was the “right time” to activate it.

“It’s also a necessary step so we can help face the challenges provided by both the caseload numbers and also the workforce shortages we’re experiencing across the system,” he said.

Nurse unit manager Susan Harding at the Royal Melbourne Hospital said the Code Brown activation was a measure the hospital supported. (Nine)

Nurse unit manager Susan Harding at the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s emergency department said the Code Brown activation was a measure the hospital was “very supportive of”.

“We’ve spent the last 20 months managing this evolving crisis and we’re ready for that next phase now,” she said.

“From a staffing and workforce perspective, we have spent the last 20 months considering the options of the community and what they needed and what we’re asking for now is the community take into account what we need as a workforce and a healthcare industry.”

Ms Harding said staff were “exhausted” due to the pressures COVID-19 had placed on the system.

“This is very much a marathon and not a sprint and we have worked really hard to put in sustainable processes,” she said.

The Code Brown activation is set to last four to six weeks and health officials will monitor the situation to determine when it’s safe to begin winding down arrangements.

What is a Code Brown?

  • Prioritising the offload of ambulance patients at emergency departments
  • Ceasing or reducing non-urgent clinical services or changing the frequency of access to these services
  • Staff may be asked to work in different parts of the hospital or in different roles
  • Asking staff to defer some form of leave if essential

Hospitalisations drop slightly

An infectious diseases expert has said the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital will largely dictate when Victoria’s Omicron wave has reached its peak as the state today recorded 22,180 new cases and 22 deaths.

Victoria’s COVID-19 hospitalisations have fallen since yesterday, with 1152 people in hospitals – compared to 1229 patients yesterday.

There are 127 people in ICU, with 43 patients on a ventilator.

Professor Sanjaya Senanayake told Today this morning that the reported cases do not tell the whole story.

“The reality is, I think it will be hospitalisation data which tells us when we’ve reached the peak … the reason being that the numbers that the chief health officers are telling us every day about their state or territory are likely to be very inaccurate because there’s just so much Omicron out there,” he said.

In Victoria, case numbers are likely to peak in mid-February putting additional pressure on a system already facing staff shortages and burnout.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton yesterday warned a number of asymptomatic COVID-positive people would likely be out and about in the community, not knowing they were infectious, and therefore not getting tested.

Professor Sutton said COVID-19 hospitalisations are expected to peak sometime in mid-February, but ultimately it depended on case numbers.

“We are going to have more people infected in recent months than we have seen in the entire pandemic,” Professor Sutton said.

Positive results from RATs could rise in coming weeks though, with an initial shipment of three million being rolled out across the state.

People with symptoms are still encouraged to get a PCR test if they are able.

Source: 9News

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like

Russia Ukraine update: What is NATO, why does it worry Russia and will Finland and Sweden join

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have moved to apply…

Trans Ideology Has Ruined Credibility of Gay Activism: Stonewall Founder

One of the co-founders of the far-left LGBTQ charity Stonewall has accused…

Weird laws from around Australia

From flying kites, to carrying potatoes; these are some of the strangest…

Cost of living crisis: Second hand cars now more expensive

Second hand cars are now £26,000 more expensive than brand new ones…

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal insists that he still expects Musk’s acquisition to close

Twitter CEO and board member Parag Agrawal has insisted that he still…

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Earl of Snowdon, 60, steps out arm in arm with his new love

When the Earl of Snowdon announced his separation from his wife, Serena,…

WH’s Bedingfield Pushes Back Against Calling Baby Formula Shortage a ‘Crisis’ — Not ‘About a Label’

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield on Friday was reluctant to describe…

RAF probe ‘drunken’ Red Arrow as airman ‘sent back from Greece following inappropriate behaviour’ 

‘Drunken’ Red Arrow in RAF probe as airman is ‘sent back from…