NHW ramping up elective surgery

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ON THE AIR: Northeast Health Wangaratta’s David Kidd (left) has been updating the community about the local coronavirus situation on OAK FM with station president Neil Barassi. What started as a ‘once-off’ session has become a regular weekly spot each Friday from 8.30am, due to community interest.

NORHTEAST Health Wangaratta is preparing for a gradual increase in the return of elective surgery, buoyed at this stage, by having no new COVID-19 cases detected since Easter.

NHW director of partnerships and well ageing, David Kidd, said on Friday that the public hospital is looking at ramping elective surgeries up to around 50 per cent normal by the end of this week, up to 75 per cent normal by the end of June, and 100 per cent normal in July, “but that’s still going to be assessed monthly”.

He said specific local needs will determine what comes back first.

“Emergency surgery and category two priority surgeries are still continuing,” Mr Kidd said.

He said NHW had done a significant number of screenings in the past few weeks.

“One because of the asymptomatic testing the government wanted us to do and now all of the school staff, so there’s an increase in testing in that case too which has been really positive,” Mr Kidd said.

“We also have a big shipping container sitting out the front of the emergency department (ED) now; that’s to reflect the new model of care that we’re looking at but also to improve the comfort of patients and staff, plus it’s a bit easier to clean.

“Everyone going into the emergency department is screened beforehand and those with symptoms will be moved and looked after in the portable and those who don’t can continue into ED.

“Another big thing coming up, outside of health, are the cyber security challenges surrounding coronavirus.”

Mr Kidd also reminded the community that visiting hours to the hospital are 12-2pm and 5-7pm, with only one visitor per patient.

“The big push internally for us is staff wellbeing; staff have been going hard for about 10 weeks now and we’re trying to get people to take leave but there’s some reluctance because you can’t go anywhere, but it’s ideal for people to have a break from work and a different environment,” he said.

For more information on coronavirus go to www.coronavirus.com.au.

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