More care closer to home was provided for Mackay Hospital and Health Service residents in 2019-20 despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mackay Hospital and Health Board Acting Chair Darryl Camilleri said the heath service had a busy and successful year and would offer even more services in the coming 12 months.
Mr Camilleri said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery saw the HHS significantly refocus its services in the second half of the 2019-20 year.
“We are proud of the professional and compassionate care that our hospital and healthcare workers delivered as we responded to COVID-19,” Mr Camilleri said.
“Their commitment to our communities and to each other as has been admirable and once again their resilience has come to the fore to see us through a difficult time.
“On behalf of the HHS and Board I would like to thank each and every staff member for their work regarding COVID-19 and thank the communities for the role you played to stay well by following public health directives,” he said.
Highlights of the year included:
• Commencement of 24/7 lifesaving cardiac services, saving transfers to
Townsville University Hospital
• Opening a new orthopaedic ward to provide specialist medical and nursing care, more surgery and increase bed capacity
• Additional theatre lists in specialties including gynaecology and trauma. The National Cabinet direction in March 2020 to suspend all but urgent elective surgery impacted our ability to deliver as much care to the community as anticipated however normal service delivery has now resumed.
• Confirmation of $31.5 million funding for the new Sarina Hospital.
Mackay HHS incurred a financial deficit of $8.78 million for the year ending 30 June 2020. This includes the planned spending of $4.36 million from retained earnings for initiatives to improve health service delivery to the community.
Mr Camilleri said strong financial stewardship in previous years led to funds being built up by Mackay HHS in retained earnings.
In 2019-20 the Board had invested retained earnings in initiatives to improve health services delivery to its community.
These initiatives included the Tropical Australia Academic Health Centre and the Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation.
COVID-19 related initiatives which increase operating costs but benefitted the community included:
• Creating a Virtual Ward in April 2020 to allow COVID-19 positive patients to safely isolate at home while still receiving care and support from medical and nursing staff
• Establishment of a COVID-19 hotline in March 2020 to provide a vital link
between our communities and the health service to answer questions about
testing and other concerns
• Increased use of telehealth to provide virtual care and more of specialist
consultations to patients in the comfort and safety of their own home
• Infrastructure projects to build additional isolation bays in Mackay Base
Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and a separate waiting room for respiratory
patients in the Base Hospital’s emergency department.
• Fit out of a separate overflow clinic for COVID-19 testing at Mackay Base
• Recruitment of additional front-line and support staff.
Mr Camilleri paid tribute to rural facilities for continuing to demonstrate their ability to deliver outstanding care.
Moranbah Hospital staff worked with several agencies to ensure workers injured in a mine accident were assessed and treated before their transfer to a registered burns unit more than 1000km away in just under 12 hours.
Proserpine Hospital became the first rural facility in Queensland to implement a Stroke Pathway which means timely access to life-saving medication for patients.
“Looking forward to 2020-21 we are excited to continue our planning for the new Sarina Hospital, the new Medical Imaging Department at Bowen Hospital, expansion of kidney care services in the health service, revitalisation of hospital in the home and the continued expansion of services at Mackay Base Hospital,” Mr Camilleri said.