Latrobe Regional Hospital has delayed all non-essential surgery to help ease the burden on resources due to an increase in COVID patients.
LRH chief operating officer Simone Redpath said the hospital would only be undertaking category 1 surgeries until the COVID surge had decreased.
Ms Redpath said the hospital would then carry out a surgery “blitz” to catch up with the list of non-essential surgeries when the surge had eased.
“Now we are pooling our resources back into the hospital to manage our workload. We don’t take this lightly, we need to do what the health service can manage,” Ms Redpath said.
“This is for a short time. We need to balance out needs and do the best we can.”
Ms Redpath said private hospitals such as Maryvale and St John of God in Berwick had been stepping up to take on some surgeries.
It comes as there were 11 patients in the LRH COVID ward with one in ICU and five in the hospital-in-the-home program.
Ms Redpath said a “significant” number of hospital staff had contracted COVID from the community, which was reducing the workforce and impacting resources and shifts.
She said some theatre staff had been moved into critical areas such as ICU or the emergency department, and out patient services were closed so staff could be used to help fill basic care needs.
Federation University final year nursing students were also jumping on board to ease workloads and help with tasks such as taking blood pressure.
Meanwhile, Ms Redpath urged people to reconsider presenting to ED unless it was an emergency.
“Wait times will be significant. It’s about people using common sense, I can’t stress enough, don’t come to ED unless you are really sick,” she said.
“If you are symptomatic, stay home and isolate until you recover. If you are positive, there is hospital-in-the-home and other ways to get get help.”