Ongoing industrial action by nurses in Victoria has seen urgent operations cancelled and almost 1,000 Victorian public hospital beds closed.
More than 310 surgeries have been cancelled since the weekend, including about 160 on Tuesday (November 15) alone.
The action was initiated by the Australian Nursing Federation in a bid for better pay and conditions – with the union requesting a 18.5 per cent pay rise and the preservation of nurse-patient ratios.
A tribunal hearing with Fair Work Australia saw the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association call upon witnesses who have complained about the role the union was playing in accommodating patients.
Evidence presented included ten patients – with conditions ranging from broken bones to pneumonia – were forced to wait more than 24 hours for a bed in Melbourne's southeast, while three category one patients were denied treatment despite their potentially life-threatening conditions.
Private health insurance offers policy holders the opportunity to avoid bed closures and growing waiting lists caused by industrial action by attending a private hospital.
State health minister David Davis expressed his concern for those using the Victorian public health system.
"There is no doubt that there is a threat to life – there is a threat and risk to patients," Mr Davis said.