Hospital avoids evacuation
Seymour Health says it managed to avoid having to evacuate the hospital during the peak of the town’s floods on Thursday night and Friday morning, despite it being in an evacuation zone.
The health service said it was contacted by the State Emergency Service on the night of Thursday, October 13 with instructions to evacuate, but after more consultation, it decided not to.
“Following further discussions with the Shepparton Emergency Management Incident Control Centre, information provided informed the decision to remain in place, as SH (Seymour Health) was not in imminent danger of being flooded,” the service said.
Seymour Health said it was regularly reviewing all information relating to potential flooding.
“Seymour Health remains in constant contact with the Health Emergency Management Lead for Hume to act on the latest and most up-to-date information regarding the flood situation,” it said.
The service said it initiated a code yellow internal emergency status and activated its flood management plan in response to the flooding event.
Fortunately, the hospital did not experience any inundation to any buildings, except for minor roof leaks.
The helipad was surrounded by water on three sides, but remained approximately 1.5 metres above the water line, and the hospital was put on ambulance bypass due to staffing challenges at the time.
Seymour Health praised its staff for their commitment during the emergency.
“Staff (are) going above and beyond to ensure safe, quality care can continue to be delivered; however, staffing challenges do exist, with many staff unable to get to work due to road closures,” it said.
Theatre, dental, social support group, community services and ambulatory care services were all suspended during the emergency while the District Nursing Service has been working with limited staffing numbers, but has been attending to vulnerable clients in the local Seymour area only.
“All vulnerable clients have been contacted to ensure they are safe and have plans in place,” Seymour Health said.
It also said plans were enacted to ensure dialysis services continued to be delivered.
Other measures Seymour Health took to cope with the flooding included purchasing bottled drinking water to use should the town’s water supplies get contaminated and bringing in sufficient supplies of food and personal protection equipment.
All Seymour Health vehicles were moved to higher ground and the rear car parks were closed.
“Despite being an exceptionally busy time, the Seymour Health team has pulled together, as always, and we feel we are well positioned to deal with the situation,” the service said.