Victorians have been forced to wait more than eight hours for medical care in busy and overwhelmed emergency departments across the state.
It comes as one health hotline, Nurse on Call, says it's fielding more than a 1000 calls a day.
Melbourne woman Beck says she experienced the prolonged wait time firsthand, after suffering abdominal and chest pain last month.
After going to the GP, she was sent straight to the Austin Hospital's emergency department, arriving at 10am.
"There was a lady there, an elderly lady who told me that she'd been there from 6pm the day before and was still waiting to be called," Beck said.
After hearing about the long waits, she left and went to the Northern Hospital.
"The queue just to get to triage was out the door," she said.
"I was crying and I said I'm in so much pain. I really need to see a doctor, could you please get a doctor for me."
Eight hours later Beck was examined and was told she needed emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder.
"Hospital is the last place I ever want to have to end up again," she said.
Two-year-old Tina and her father Saman Coliaie found themselves in a similar situation.
The toddler was vomiting profusely with a 40 degree fever recently before her Templestowe parents went to the Royal Children's Hospital and were told the wait would be hours.
They then decided to seek assistance at the Monash Children's Hospital.
"We were told to wait another four hours. It means six hours we needed to wait in hospital in emergency to be seen by a doctor," Coliaie said.
Their last resort was private hospital nearby, where Tina was treated immediately.
The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine said staff were working harder than ever to meet demand.
President Dr Clare Skinner said all staff and patients across the healthcare sector were struggling.
"Emergency departments are under an immense amount of pressure and we are dealing with staff working long hours and doing double shifts and long hours to meet demand," she said.
"There aren't any beds available in the hospital at the moment because we don't have the staff for them and every bed is being used as efficiently as possible."
Nurse on Call has also experienced a 15 per cent surge in demand in recent weeks.
The hotline claims to be fielding around 50,000 calls a month from sick Victorians.