Victoria’s acting premier says he’s up to the task of leading the state while Premier Daniel Andrews recovers from a serious fall.
Doctors are yet to decide whether Mr Andrews will need surgery after he fractured the T7 vertebrae in the middle of his spine and broke several ribs in the accident on Tuesday.
Acting Premier James Merlino said he spoke to Mr Andrews by phone on Thursday morning.
“It was great to touch base with him, make sure he’s okay. It was great to hear his voice,” Mr Merlino told reporters.
“This is quite serious but he’s in the best place, getting the best care at Alfred (and) all the love and support of his family.
“I look forward to his recovery and returning to the job but at the moment, his complete focus needs to be on his recovery.”
Mr Merlino said he would continue to update Victorians on the premier’s condition.
“Over the next few days we’ll know more in terms of Dan’s treatment plan and his recovery,” he said.
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A government source told AAP there remains a “50-50 chance” Mr Andrews will require surgery on his fractured vertebrae. Any surgery would be followed by months of recuperation.
Mr Merlino, who has been deputy premier since 2014, sought to reassure Victorians he would be able to fill Mr Andrews’ shoes for a longer period if required.
“We made a commitment back in 2014 when we first came into government to not waste a day,” he said.
“Government will continue. I’ll be the acting premier, leading cabinet.”
Mr Andrews slipped on wet stairs at a Mornington Peninsula holiday rental while getting ready for work on Tuesday morning.
He was initially treated at Peninsula Private Hospital but transferred to Alfred Trauma Centre in Melbourne after specialists assessed an MRI scan.
Associate Professor Steve McGloughlin, the head of the intensive care unit at The Alfred hospital said the premier was “comfortable and his pain is well- controlled”.
“A multidisciplinary team including intensive care, trauma and orthopaedic specialists has developed a treatment plan, together with the Andrews family,” Prof McGloughlin said late on Wednesday.
“Mr Andrews has sustained some serious injuries and his condition is being monitored closely. At this stage there is no immediate plan for surgery.”
He has been cleared of any internal or head injuries.
“Heartfelt thanks to the entire team at AlfredHealth for taking such good care of me. We’re so very grateful,” Mr Andrews tweeted on Wednesday.