Dr Diana Badcock has warned of delays in ED. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN.

People may be forced to wait longer than usual in Bendigo Health’s Emergency Department due to an increased demand for services.

Bendigo Health is experiencing its winter demand with flu, coughs and colds making people unwell.

Director of Emergency Services Diana Badcock said they are at capacity across the board.

“In every department we are pulling our resources to the maximum,” she said.

With a 10 per cent increase in cases compared to this time last year, Dr Badcock said the way people utilise the hospital has to change.

“If you’re somebody who uses the ED as your primary care provider that needs to stop,” she said.

“But if you’re elderly, feel unwell or need to access care and don’t have any other means the ED is the correct place to be.”

Dr Badcock said this is a conversation we need to have as a community, and encouraged people to think about what it means to be acutely unwell and what it is to be a public hospital.

“We have to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people,” she said.

Dr Badcock asked that patients be collected by their family and friends from hospital as soon as possible to free up inpatient beds for those waiting.

“The risk is that people who are waiting too long to be assessed get sicker than they need to be,” she said.

“Our ask to the community is to be patient with us because everyone is working very hard.”

– Grace Aicken