By Luke Voogt
Police, Emergency Services and Water Minister Lisa Neville will take three months of leave after suffering her “worst” episode yet of a chronic auto-immune disease.
The Bellarine MP was hospitalised on February 12 after complications from Crohn’s disease, which she has lived with for 32 years.
“I remain in hospital currently,” she said in a statement on Saturday.
“Over the past few months I had been managing the most recent episode from home, however my condition progressively worsened and required hospitalisation.
“Many people in the community live with this condition, and to date I have successfully managed the effects of it.
“However the current episode is the worst I have been confronted with.”
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that affects the lining of the digestive tract and can sometimes cause life-threatening complications.
Ms Neville had initially planned to return to work this week but, following extensive treatment, health professionals recommended she needed more time to recover.
“The clear advice from my doctors is if I don’t take this period of rest and recovery, I will be faced with major bowel surgery and risk long-term consequences to the quality and length of my life,” she said.
Ms Neville spoke of the honour of working with police and emergency services, along with her love for the Bellarine Peninsula.
She thanked health professionals and her cabinet and caucus colleagues for their support.
“Thank you also to the many friends who have wished me well during this time,” she said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described Ms Neville as “highly-valued” and “relentlessly-dedicated”, and extended his best wishes for her recovery.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne will take over as acting water minister, while Assistant Treasurer Danny Pearson will take on the police and emergency services portfolios.
Upper house member Gayle Tierney MP will act as the duty member for the Bellarine electorate.