Real-world performance of Victorian hospitals during the COVID-19 lockdowns

Stephen Allison, Tarun Bastiampillai, Jeffrey Cl Looi, David Copolov, Vinay Lakra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Victoria has low numbers of general adult psychiatric beds per capita by Australian and international standards. Hospital key performance indicators (KPIs) such as bed occupancy rates, emergency department waiting times and inpatient lengths of stay are proximal measures of the effects any shortfall in beds. We investigate the real-world performance of Victorian hospitals during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extended lockdowns in 2020. CONCLUSIONS: The Victorian inpatient psychiatric system is characterised by high bed occupancies in many regions, extended stays in emergency departments awaiting a bed, and short inpatient lengths of stay, except for patients with excessively long stays on acute units (over 35 days) who are unable to be admitted to non-acute facilities. At the end of 2020, bed occupancies were high (above 90%) in 10 regions, with three regions having bed occupancies over 100%. However, state-wide average bed occupancy improved between 2019 (94%) and 2020 (88%). Other KPIs remained steady because acute hospitals did not experience the expected pandemic mental health demand-surge. For a more complete picture of the impact of the pandemic, Australia needs interconnected, centralised data systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-242
Number of pages4
JournalAustralasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • key performance indicators
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health
  • Bed occupancy
  • COVID-19
  • Victoria
  • Australia


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