COVID-19: Delivering ‘business as usual’ service amid pandemic
Published at: 03 Apr 2020
GV Health Executive Director Clinical Operations Donna Sherringham said that while the health service was actively responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, GV Health was still operating other essential services as normal.
Ms Sherringham said while the COVID-19 outbreak was a once-in-a-lifetime situation, the organisation had processes and plans about how to respond to emergency situations already in place.
“We have ongoing training and staff education for Code Brown calls (external emergencies), but what is unfolding right now is an incredibly unique situation,” she said.
“Although COVID-19 is unprecedented, as an organisation we have a strong foundation of emergency training and planning that we can execute right now.”
Ms Sherringham said while tackling COVID-19 was a large part of the health service’s current focus, there would still be the usual services available, however some are being delivered differently.
“We’ve got two parallel situations unfolding right now,” she said.
“On one hand we’re dealing with the increased demand on our services and staff due to COVID-19, but we’re also providing‚ business as usual’ services that people rely on every day.”
GV Health Acting Nurse Unit Manager Emergency Department Jodie Schumann said a large part of successfully navigating through the next few months was reassuring staff.
“It’s about looking out for each other and being mindful of the increased measures that are in place, as well as providing the care that we need to without being fearful about being at work,” she said.
“We’re still trying to maintain business as usual as best we can, but we’ve got this whole unfolding pandemic that needs a large amount of our attention.
“Right now, we’re focused on adapting and adjusting our existing processes and aligning them to appropriately and safely manage the COVID 19 pandemic.”
Ms Schumann said Emergency Department staff already cared for patients in a flexible and adaptable manner, given the unpredictable environment.
“It’s not just about looking after patients, it is also looking after the staff’s wellbeing and trying very hard to provide clear messages every day, and addressing their concerns,” she said.
“As you can appreciate, this is challenging given the amount of information that is reported, and how rapidly it changes, often on a daily basis.”
Ms Schumann said with the health service currently in the middle of a $229 million redevelopment, COVID-19 was an added pressure on the changing working environment.
“We’ve not only had COVID-19, but prior to this we were dealing with our redevelopment and preparing to move into the new Emergency Department,” she said.
“We were also busy adapting to working among the construction of our new facilities.
“And we were working through one really huge organisational change and now we’ve been hit with another.
“We need the redevelopment now more than ever.”
Ms Sherringham said GV Health staff had worked incredibly well together during this time and commended the collaborative effort from everyone at the health service.
“The way the teams have been responding has been pretty amazing,” she said.
“Working together right now is so important and everyone has been stepping up when asked to and it’s great to see.”
Elective surgery changes
GV Health is continuing to operate its theatres to complete Category 1 surgeries.
It was recently announced by the Federal Government that all other surgeries will be put on hold to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
GV Health Divisional Operations Director Surgical and Women’s & Children’s Kim Read said the health service was currently doing Category 1 as well as emergency surgeries.
“A Category 1 surgery is an elective surgery that must be completed within 30 days,” she said.
“Emergency surgeries are for things like appendicitis and fractured hips.”
Ms Read said that those who were waiting for surgery as a result were encouraged to contact their GP if they had any problems.