More Victorians could soon be operated on by robots under an ambitious plan by the state’s opposition.
A $66m package to increase the use of medical robots in the public system has been slated by Liberal leader Matthew Guy if he becomes Premier.
Robotic-assisted surgery is aimed at reducing the pressure on the hospital system through shorter hospital stays, which would free up capacity for more surgeries to be performed.
The technology is currently used at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and University Hospital Geelong as well as by 16 private hospitals across the state.
Under the Liberals’ plan, robot-assisted surgery would be performed at eight other major sites including The Alfred, The Olivia Newton-John Cancer centre and Austin Health.
Mr Guy said the announcement was part of a larger plan to “fix the health crisis”.
“This technology will help us halve the elective surgery waitlist and give tens of thousands of Victorians their lives back,” he said.
However, Health Minister Mary Anne Thomas hit back at the plan, saying the opposition wasn’t in line with the sector’s needs.
“Now it’s robots over ratios as they try desperately to find a workforce they don’t have to consult,” Ms Thomas said.
But Opposition spokeswoman for health Georgie Crozier said the technology has a place to improve Victoria’s embattled healthcare system.
“The Andrews Labor Government mocking technology that is already widely in use in the private sector shows how out of touch, out of ideas and out of time they are,” she said.
“We have announced a Real Solutions Plan to train an additional 40,000 nurses and midwives, and we will not be changing the legislated ratios, full stop.”
It comes after the government revealed a plan to give graduate nurses and midwives a $5000 bonus.
That announcement was made by Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday under a $150m plan which also aims to control nurse-to-patient ratios.
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