Demand for health services on the rise

BENDIGO Health is calling on the community to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

The call comes in response to what chief executive officer John Mulder has described as an "unprecedented" demand for services.

Mr Mulder said hospital admissions in the year to date were up by about 7.5 per cent compared to this time last year.

"Additional patients to the emergency department are presenting as well," he said.

"That's only up two per cent but the conditions that they're presenting with is leading to significant pressures on emergency surgery and admissions to beds.

"So people are presenting with more complex conditions than they did previously."

Executive director of nursing and surgical services Peter Faulkner said people were living longer but they were not always healthier.

"There is the fact, of course, that as you have an increasing population you have an increase in accidents and injuries associated with that, some of which lead to surgery," he said.

"But we also know that lifestyle factors contribute to some of these trends as well for emergency presentations - such as a diet leading to gall bladder problems, for example.

"So our focus on healthy communities and healthy living is really underscored or emphasised by what we see come through the door.

"We're very keen to continue to pursue that message with our community."

Mr Mulder said Bendigo Health was committed to the healthy communities vision.

"As Peter (Faulkner) said many of this additional work load we're seeing is lifestyle related," he said.

"We know that while we enjoy this right to a world-class health care system that with that right comes a responsibility to do our best to try and avoid using it.

"The message, as it has been in the past and that we'll continue to reinforce, is around healthy eating, exercise, living in a smoke-free environment, moderate use of alcohol and avoidance of illicit drugs. If we tick those five boxes in our community we'll go a long way to achieving our vision."

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