To our beloved patients,

It is with great sadness that we learn of the recent decisions to restrict access to elective surgery in Victoria. It is an unprecedented decision and one that unfortunately we cannot reverse. We trust that it is made for good reasons to redistribute resources for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 related illness and hospital admissions.

We are truly devastated by this decision and the impact that it will have on our patient cohort. I can only image the devastation, therefore, being experienced by you and your families who all share the burden of your condition. My heart goes out in particular to patients already part way through their treatment or those who were almost at the starting line and have put your lives on hold in preparation.

As you all know, we have worked tirelessly towards Lipoedema being recognised by Medicare and a disease mechanism behind this disease, through our research program at the OBI department, SVI. This aim has never been more important than it is now.

In terms of how we will catch up, I do not honestly know – but I can give you my commitment that I will not rest until it is done. We will do the work that needs to be done.

In the meantime, the health system is in for its greatest ever test. Public hospital work loads have been shifted into the private for “urgent” patients and private hospital lists have not only been halved, but restricted to emergency and “urgent” cases only. Lipoedema patients are among the many forgotten cohorts of deserving patients. At no stage, however, are we willing to compromise the safety of our patients by taking short cuts with surgery, anaesthetics, hospital admissions or aftercare.

During this time, I am concerned also for my staff who work tirelessly both in Brighton and East Melbourne to look after your bookings. They are the “meat in the sandwich” and bear the brunt of frustration both from patients and hospitals as they deliver the bad news of cancellations and try to negotiate the system to get as much done as we can. Please spare a thought for them as they are under immense pressure and do an amazing job. Please remember to treat them with respect at all times and help them to do their jobs. Without them I could not provide health care to any of my patients.

Please do not lose heart, we will get through this together. You are all very special to me, as is my quest to rid the world of this disease. We will get there.

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay united.