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Warrnambool-referred patients receiving surgery in Portland

PORTLAND’S hospital is so well-recognised as facility for procedures that some Warrnambool hospital surgeries are now being redirected here.

Portland District Health is helping South West Healthcare ease its surgery backlog by making its theatre available.

“COVID-19 has impacted on surgical services across the region,” PDH chief executive Chris Giles said.

“The partnership will allow more people across the south-west to access care in a timely manner.”

Ms Giles said they are pleased to be able to help out, and could increase their surgery capacity from four to five days a week if necessary.

Low-risk orthopaedics, endoscopies, colonoscopies and possibly some plastic surgery will be carried out at PDH by SWHC-referred patients, Ms Giles said.

“The majority of procedures will be for people who would normally come to Portland.”

Meanwhile PDH is renewing the “It’s OK to ask” campaign for community members to keep as many procedures in Portland as possible without going to other health services first.

The campaign encourages patients to request referrals to PDH wherever possible, helping support their local hospital as well as allowing medical procedures to be done much closer to their home.

PDH’s new perioperative services manager Michael Ashby said the hospital’s surgical facilities could grow “but you need to provide the client base from the referrals of GPs”.

“We need to encourage GPs to refer people here as much as possible.

“We’ve got two theatres, top-rate equipment and best practice procedures and staff and there is more capacity to provide services to local people.

“A community deserves the hospital that it wants.

“If the community is willing to support and use the health service, we can positively look to the future. If we can bring more services to the area, it means better health outcomes for local people.”

Mr Ashby said he would also be working with management to try to attract more specialists to Portland.

“Like all regional hospitals, we would like to have less dependence on locums and more tenured medical staff but it is difficult,” he said.

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