Complications delay MPs’ return

Lisa Neville. (Louisa Jones) 218712_08

Post-surgery complications from a chronic bowel disease will prevent Bellarine MP Lisa Neville from returning to work for at least a month longer than initially expected.

Ms Neville has battled a severe flare-up of Crohns disease since 2020, which led to her being hospitalised this February.

“[Since then] there have been various complications in my treatment,” she said last Friday.

“Based on advice from my doctors I am not physically able to return to work at the end of June, as originally planned.

“This additional delay has been personally very disappointing to me, but my doctors have a plan and I anticipate that, all going well, I will be able to return at some point in August – subject to medical advice.

“You have to be able to give [the job] your all. As frustrating as it is, I am just not at that point yet.”

Ms Neville underwent two surgeries in April after taking an absence of leave from her roles as Police, Emergency Services and Water Minister.

She spent four weeks in hospital, including one week in intensive care following the first surgery on April 6.

“To say this experience shook me is an understatement. Particularly my week in intensive care,” she said.

She also underwent surgery on April 15, and after she returned home she was admitted for another week in late May.

“My surgery involved removal of the terminal ileum of the small bowel, leading to malabsorption of key electrolytes, which require me to have weekly infusions to give my body the nutrients it is struggling to keep,” she said.

“We are also working on various options to control bowel complications, including chronic diarrhoea – a common complication of this surgery and one suffered by many people with Crohns, although one not often discussed openly.

She thanked her “amazing” surgeon and gastroenterologist, and other staff at St John of God Hospital, along with those that had reached out to her, particularly Crohns sufferers.

“It is clear we need to do more to talk about this silent and often invisible disease – and I intend to help in this regard once I am recovered from this latest episode,” she said.