Daniel Andrews has snapped back at a reporter who referenced the care of a patient with a spinal injury similar to the one he sustained last year.

The Victorian Premier made the comments amid climbing criticism of the state’s hospital system due to staff shortages and limited bed availability.

Mr Andrews’ retort came after a journalist informed him about a woman who had a similar ailment to what the Premier sustained after slipping on steps in March 2021.

“A woman had a cracked vertebrae and had to be taken on a stretcher across the carpark at Box Hill Hospital this morning,” the reporter said.

The query triggered Mr Andrews to recall his own injuries and care at The Alfred hospital.

Daniel Andrews details back injury care amid Victoria’s hospital crisis

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at The Alfred after his 2021 injury. Credit: Supplied

“There’s nothing comfortable about having a broken back, let me assure you of that,” he said.

“As a patient of this hospital, I can assure you that patient, like all patients, spinal injuries are very serious and the teams do their very best, their very, very best to provide care to those people.”

Mr Andrews said healthcare staff at the hospital were continuing to provide first-class care despite trying conditions.

“I can confirm that from personal experience and nothing about that sort of an injury is easy and sometimes there are challenges, but the staff do the best they can to provide the best care to those patients and all patients,” he said.

The Premier suffered broken ribs and spinal damage after falling on wet stairs at a Mornington Peninsula holiday house in March last year.

He later said the injuries left him unable to breathe, let alone call for help.

Daniel Andrews details back injury care amid Victoria’s hospital crisis

Mr Andrews with daughter Grace while recovering from the injury in 2021. Credit: News Corp Australia

“All I could hear was this almighty crunch. And that’s when I knew … and when I heard the crunch, I thought, ‘This is serious, we’re in trouble here’,” he said.

“Cath must have heard me groaning in pain. I couldn’t yell out. She comes and finds me a few moments later. It felt like an eternity because I couldn’t breathe. I could only take shallow breaths in and out.”

Mr Andrews was rushed to the intensive care unit at The Alfred before taking three months off work to recover.

Victoria’s hospitals have been under increasing pressure since Covid cases began rising towards the end of 2021.

Health services have also had to deal with resurgent flu numbers along with furloughed and sick workers.

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