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Wonthaggi raises health bar

A MORE complex level of care may become a reality at the Wonthaggi hospital.

At the moment, the Wonthaggi hospital – along with hospitals in Leongatha and Foster – is considered a small rural hospital, capable of taking care of generic, low complex situations.

While in some areas the hospital is ready to step up to subregional level in the next few months, aspects such as the emergency department are holding it back.

Moving up to subregional status would extend the hospital’s capabilities in all aspects, and would allow for the development of a high dependency unit, which would take patients that require more immediate care.

“We’ve already started work by increasing the number of subacute beds,” hospital CEO Jan Child said.

“Although the emergency department needs work, it already provides a great 24 hour service. The operating theatre is okay but it needs to grow so we can do more major surgeries.”

To update the facility, a master plan must be developed.

Once the plan has been developed, the hospital will be in a better position to gain funding.

Ms Child said the hospital is working towards subregional status with the recruitment of more junior medical staff, which may be just six months away, as well as the hospital’s abilities to treat more complex cases such as high risk pneumonia.

In the meantime, Wonthaggi’s capabilities may decrease for the time being following the recent release of the Duckett Report and the Capability Framework for Victorian Maternity and Newborn Services.

“These reports describe the level of care we should be undertaking at the hospital,” Ms Child said.

“Wonthaggi can take in level three – or reduced risk – pregnancies. For the last few years Bass Coast Health has been operating above level three, which is not good. Although we are servicing the local community, people are more at risk.”

The development of an operating capability framework for surgeries is also in production.

“This will put parameters in so we can operate safely,” Ms Child said.

“When I started here six months ago, we established that we should be working within these frameworks and have the right safety foundations.”

Moving up to subregional status would extend the safety framework and strengthen the health service locally.

Ms Child estimated it may be three years before the high dependency unit can be developed and five years before the hospital is operating at a higher level.

“I think we will start to see things happening pretty quickly and soon we will be able to look after around 75 per cent of the community. At the moment, we see around 50 per cent,” she said.

“This is a very exciting time and we are working towards increasing our capacity to share resources with other local hospitals.”

Positive news for Bass Coast Health keeps coming, with the hospital closer to breaking even this year after suffering a $3 million debt.

A finalised annual report showed the deficit has crept below $1million.

Ms Child said there was a lot to be done – especially with subregional status in their sights – but a review of the hospital services would ensure the hospital retains its vision for long term growth, whilst always keeping the wellbeing of its patients a priority.

Upgrade needed: staff in the Wonthaggi hospital’s emergency department provide an excellent service, but need a new facility to extend their level of care. Pictured, from left, are doctors Peter Ward and Richard Monthy examining an x-ray.

Upgrade needed: staff in the Wonthaggi hospital’s emergency department provide an excellent service, but need a new facility to extend their level of care. Pictured, from left, are doctors Peter Ward and Richard Monthy examining an x-ray.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=19854

Posted by on Oct 25 2016. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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