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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Fundraiser buys new equipment for Ballina Hospital

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(L-R) Ballina Rotary’s Col Lee and Dave Harmon try out the new Entonox delivery system with Ballina Hospital’s Wayne Smith and Peter Jeffree, Rotary’s Jodie Shelley and Fiona Siviour, the HR and Functions Manager at Cherry Street Sports Club. Photo David Lowe.

Funds raised from Ballina Rotary’s recent John Huegill Memorial Charity Barefoot Bowls Day has purchased new pain relief technology for Ballina Hospital’s Emergency Department.

The new gadget is called an Entonox delivery system, which delivers a 50/50 mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen, on patient demand.

Wayne Smith, Nursing Manager for the Ballina emergency department, said that the specialised equipment can be used by patients who are able to hold the device and self-administer the gas mixture for fast pain relief.

‘It works really quickly and it wears off really quickly,’ he explained.

He said the timing of the donation was perfect, as the device it replaced was on its last legs. The new machine has already been used with patients.

‘For us in the emergency department, if you’re doing stitching, or even finger dislocations and things like that, it gives you a quick, fast-acting anaesthetic/pain relief agent,’ said Mr Smith.

‘If you’re doing something more significant you can give them some of this while you’re putting the local in, because there’s a lot of people who don’t like the local more than the stitches, for example. This works really well, gives them the giggles.

‘For kids it works a treat,’ he said.

Ballina Hospital Emergency Department Nursing Manager Wayne Smith holds the new Entonox delivery system with the hospital’s Executive Officer/Director of Nursing, Peter Jeffree. Photo David Lowe.

Christmas comes early for emergency department

Wayne Smith said the new machine had been on the hospital’s wish list for a while – ‘It’s one we’ve always wanted, it’s the latest model.’

Unlike some devices, the new machine is instantaneous.

‘From an emergency department point of view it’s really quick, just grab it and it runs, give it to the patient, explain quickly what it is, make sure they don’t have any risk management issues like chest issues or asthma – we run through a checklist to make sure they’re safe to use it – and then we’re ready to go, ‘ said Mr Smith.

‘For filters and things like that, when you’re finished with them you just throw them away, so they’re very safe from an infection control point of view. The machine can be wiped down with an anti-bacterial wipe and it’s ready to use again.’

This is not the first time the Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond has helped the hospital.

Rotary’s Col Lee told Echonetdaily, ‘Our Bowls Day for the last ten years has gone to Ballina District Hospital for some piece of equipment. And over the time we’ve been able to purchase some wonderful things.

‘One of the great things I thought was the vein finder. With little children and older people and people with really dark skin, often it’s difficult for nurses to find a vein for a cannula, and this just picks up the vein straight away so there’s no digging around looking for a vein. It’s a wonderful piece of equipment,’ he said.

‘We got a really great bed last year. Over the years we’ve always focused on ED, so this is our tenth year of providing for the hospital through our Bowls Day.’

Nursing Manager Wayne Smith said, ‘We’re very grateful to Rotary. They give us the option of adding some extra equipment to our department that we’d normally have to wait significant periods of time to get, and they’re very helpful.

‘The staff all appreciate it, because they often have a list of things in the back of their heads. When I ask, they tell me what they’ve been thinking about, and Rotary have been really good in helping us to actually get some of that equipment.’

Thanks to Cherry Street Sports Club

Supporters at the 2020 charity bowls day. Photo supplied.

Col Lee said, ‘One of the wonderful things with our Bowls Day is the partnership arrangement that we’ve had with Cherry Street Sports.

‘That’s been going for about 10-12 years, and through the cooperation there, this comes to fruition and we can get something substantial.’

Rotary’s Ballina President Dave Harmon echoed Mr Lee’s comments, saying ‘without the support of Cherry Street Sports Club we wouldn’t be here.

‘We had 130-odd on the Bowls Day, which was the maximum with COVID, and it was fantastic that Cherry Street were so on board with the COVID marshalling and everything else, so we could have a mass gathering like that in public, out on the greens. And we raised a record amount of money, nearly $5,000 during COVID, which is just fantastic.’

The new device cost $3,000, so the hospital are currently looking at their wish list to consider their next purchase.

Wayne Smith said, ‘We’re looking at a charging device for the IV pumps, it’s like a docking station which charges four pumps all at once, just to make sure everything’s operational and running. I’m waiting for a quote on that one.’

Ballina people generous

Supporters at the 2020 charity bowls day. Photo supplied.

Dave Harmon said he was extra-impressed with the community support in 2020.

‘In the raffle, we made about $1,000. People are just so generous. With COVID people have been locked up. Now they’re out, and with a really good cause, people are just throwing money at us, in support.’

The Executive Officer/Director of Nursing at Ballina Hospital is Peter Jeffree.

He said, ‘Ballina Hospital’s always been very appreciate of what Rotary have done for us, and particularly the support from Cherry Street Sports.

‘They’ve been very supportive over time and we’re very grateful for the ongoing support from the community.’

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