Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Committed to quality care

- Dear Editor, Yours etc. Craig McColm Cluster manager Deniliquin Health Service

On behalf of the Deniliquin District Hospital management team, I would like to acknowledg­e and thank the staff, patients and community members for their incredible support and kindness during this very challengin­g time.

We remain humbled by the acts of kindness demonstrat­ed to our staff over the past nine days.

As I am certain the community would appreciate, we have been working very hard to ensure we appropriat­ely enact our COVID management plans.

We have had great support from the Murrumbidg­ee Local Health District and NSW Health in response to the recently confirmed COVID-19 positive cases.

I would have liked to be in a position to provide detailed informatio­n to the community earlier. Our focus over the past nine days has been on ensuring we keep our staff, patients and community safe.

In response to the confirmed COVID-19 patient within the acute inpatient ward (Middleton Gorman Wing) we have risk assessed all staff, visitors and patients who are deemed to be a close contact.

We have used a risk matrix developed by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission which has guided us to ensure we implement strategies to mitigate any risk of further transmissi­on.

One of these strategies include placing staff in isolation and ensuring the staff member is tested on a regular basis.

Currently one staff member (who was in very close contact) has returned a positive swab.

This employee is physically well and in very good spirits. I spoke with the employee (Saturday) and her biggest issue is boredom and her urge to get back to work to look after her patients and support her colleagues.

The Deniliquin management team has been conducting regular welfare checks with staff in isolation since day one with all staff remaining physically well and in good spirits.

We have a large number of nursing staff who remain quarantine­d with an additional three doctors in home quarantine as precaution­ary measure.

This has placed significan­t pressures on our workforce and our capacity to maintain inpatient services as ‘‘business as usual’’.

We have received incredible support from the MLHD with nursing staff, security staff, cleaning staff and medical staff being redeployed to Deniliquin to support our existing workforce to provide safe, quality care.

The acute inpatient service (MGW) has been closed for ‘‘deep cleaning’’ which will continue over the weekend.

Four inpatients were transferre­d to neighbouri­ng hospitals within the Deniliquin cluster over the past two days.

Transport has been planned to have these patients returned to the Deniliquin inpatient service on Tuesday.

The acute inpatient service will reopen for admissions on Tuesday with a capped number of beds available. This capping is purely in place to ensure we have the number of nursing workforce available to provide safe, quality care to the community.

Services within the emergency department, maternity service, community health services and dialysis service remain fully functional.

People requiring care should access that care at the hospital. We remain available to service the community in the provision of high quality healthcare.

It is import for community members to be aware that we maintain high infection prevention and control standards and all people entering the hospital will continue to be risk screened on entry.

Masks remain mandatory for all staff and visitors as the state remains in ‘Red Alert’.

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