Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville says she will need to undergo a “significant operation” and will likely remain off work until late June.

Ms Neville was admitted to hospital in mid-February due to complications with the chronic autoimmune disorder Crohn’s disease.

“Despite two and a half weeks in hospital, an intensive regime of biological drug treatment and three weeks of recovery out of the public eye, this week I have undertaken a series of tests, including an MRI that has indicated that my condition has in fact worsened,” she said in a statement today.

“As a result, my doctors have indicated that the only effective treatment now is surgery.”

She said she would undergo a small bowel resection in hospital on Tuesday.

“This is a significant operation that may require up to 12 weeks’ recovery. At this stage this means I will not return to my role until the end of June,” she said.

Ms Neville’s medical leave means the state Labor government is without two of its most senior members.

Premier Daniel Andrews is undergoing rehabilitation and recovery after fracturing several ribs and a vertebra.

As the Emergency Services Minister, Ms Neville was the minister ultimately responsible for hotel quarantine under Victoria’s reset scheme.

Danny Pearson has been acting in the police and emergency services portfolio since February, which includes oversight of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria.

Richard Wynne has taken on Ms Neville’s responsibilities for the water portfolio, while Gayle Tierney has been acting as the deputy member for Ms Neville’s seat of Bellarine.

“Although it is disappointing and always concerning to have part of your bowel removed, for many who have Crohn’s this can result in a period of remission and enable people to return after recovery to normal life and work,” Ms Neville said in the statement.

She thanked her friends and colleagues for their support but issued a special thanks to “all those who suffer from Crohn’s or similar illnesses who have reached out”.

“This is very much a hidden illness and unless you have experienced it firsthand it is hard to understand the toll it can take, both physically and mentally,” she said.

“It is a small consolation that people are now learning more about Crohn’s, it’s triggers and the seriousness that the complications can cause.”


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