In mid-August, non-urgent elective surgery other than Category 1 and urgent Category 2 was reduced around the state to ensure limited resources were available to respond to increasing COVID-positive demand.
Our very capable surgical services is now planning the way forward for the safe resumption of our elective surgery. We've been working through this planning for some time and will increase our elective surgery as soon as we can to reach the government-approved caps. While the government has informed hospitals we can increase elective surgery up to 75 percent as of now, and up to 85 percent from September 28, this figure is a ceiling and provides much needed flexibility in planning this increase.
All Victorian hospitals will move to 100 percent of usual activity when the state shifts to the Last Step to COVID Normal planned for November 23. Currently here at SWH we're performing 65 percent of our usual elective surgery activity. At this stage pre-operative COVID testing which we implemented on August 17 as an additional precaution will continue.
Our specialist clinic consultations will gradually increase in line with elective surgery activity; telehealth will continue to be utilised where possible to reduce face-to-face consultations; non-urgent dental services will slowly resume; and AHPRA-registered allied health professionals will be able to see patients for face-to-face services for a broader range of treatments, including pain management and preventing deterioration in functional independence. Some limitations will still stay in place, such as group therapy for allied health.
As we move to recommence face-to-face services every measure will be taken to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff, including the screening of everyone entering our facilities and physical distancing requirements. All visitor information is available on the homepage of our website at www.southwesthealthcare.com.au
Our CEO Craig Fraser, again, wants to thank all our staff, volunteers, patients, clients, consumers and residents for your understanding as we flexibly change our response to COVID. He says it highlights the benefits of the great work regional and rural South West residents have done in reducing COVID numbers. He's also urging anyone who's been putting off seeing their doctor to do so if they have a health concern:
'I do want to highlight that I'm concerned about the decreasing number of people being diagnosed with cancers and other illnesses and conditions. Our early detection percentage rates have decreased, as they have across Victoria, so please don't delay in seeing your doctor if you believe you have symptoms or health conditions that need attending to.'
COVID SCREENINGS THIS WEEK
We've now tested 9,555 people. Here's this week's breakdown of the 189 people screened from September 11-17:
Symptomatic patients screened at our Warrnambool Respiratory Assessment Clinic
(5,650 to date)
Symptomatic patients screened at our Warrnambool Base Hospital emergency department
(786 to date)
Symptomatic patient screened at our Camperdown Hospital urgent care centre
(14 to date)
Symptomatic inpatients screened in our Warrnambool Base Hospital, Camperdown Hospital/Merindah Lodge
(626 to date)
DHHS-directed 'close contacts' screened at our Warrnambool Respiratory Assessment Clinic
(45 to date)
DHHS-directed asymptomatic people screened at our Warrnambool Respiratory Assessment Clinic during community and staff screening clinics
(2,259 to date)
DHHS-directed asymptomatic people screened at our Camperdown Hospital during community and staff screening clinics
(175 to date)
OUR RETAIL SHOP RESUMES USUAL OPENING
The retail shop in our Warrnambool Base Hospital has resumed its normal opening hours. It's now open to the public 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Please note you'll need to allow time to be screened at the entrance of our Warrnambool Base Hospital to visit in person. Phone orders are also most welcome and a non-contact ramp handover can be organised by phoning 5564 4105.
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