Surgery back on the table

ELECTIVE surgery has resumed at Swan Hill District Health (SHDH) following a slowdown of new coronavirus cases.

SHDH chief executive officer Peter Abraham said the health service was performing about 40 per cent of the procedures normally undertaken, these consistent of urgent and high priority cases.

"These cases are surgeries that will instantly improve the quality of someone's day-to-day life," he told The Guardian.

He said the process from this point forward for patients booked into surgery largely remained as normal.

"One major change we have implemented is that all pre-admission work is done via Telehealth as opposed to patients coming into the health service in an effort to limit unnecessary visits," Mr Abraham said.

Patient stays are kept as short as possible, without impacting upon the quality of care received.

"We continue to limit visitations to our health service in an effort to protect our patients and our medical workforce, however our doors remain open and our services are accessible to the community if needed," Mr Abraham said.

"We remain mindful that this pandemic is ongoing.

"While we are starting to return to some business as usual, we are still in the pandemic stage and are cautious of that.

"Our staff are well-prepared to respond to any COVID-19 cases and we encourage anyone displaying even mild symptoms to attend our acute respiratory assessment clinic on High Street.

"We continue to ask the community to stay clean, stay home and stay kind to one another during this difficult time."

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos announced the reintroduction of more category two and some category three elective surgeries across Victoria's public and private hospitals from April 27.

This could include IVF procedures, post-cancer reconstruction procedures, eye procedures and cataracts, endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures, some dental procedures, joint replacements including knee, hip and shoulder and screening programs for cancer and other diseases. It also includes all procedures for children under the age of 18.