As the Delta variant moves the goalposts globally, local health authorities say they are confident they are prepared for any case surge.
Yet when asked how many ventilators are on hand in the region, a Northern NSW Local Health District spokesperson said they did not have that information.
Acting Chief Executive, Lynne Weir, told The Echo her department has a ‘detailed escalation and surge plan for COVID-positive patients within our district’.
Ms Weir says, ‘In NSW, we have a large, highly-integrated, networked health system with sufficient surge capacity to ensure all patients who require intensive care will receive it’.
‘In our District, there are more than 20 intensive care (IC) beds spread across our three major hospitals in Grafton, Lismore and Tweed, with plans in place to surge staffing and intensive care capacity, if and when required, across all our health facilities. Throughout the early stages of the pandemic, we sourced additional equipment, including ventilators, in the event it’s required for any surge in intensive care patients that may occur in our region.
‘From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Northern NSW Local Health District has been actively increasing its staffing and upskilling its workforce in readiness to care for COVID-19 patients in our region.
‘An additional 62 nurses were recruited across the District, including Assistants in Nursing, Enrolled Nurses and Registered Nurses.
‘Additional training programs were developed for nurses, midwives, and allied health staff, with more than 265 staff attending surge training in Intensive Care, Emergency and Immunisation specialties to provide additional capacity to care for patients.
‘In June this year, an additional staffing allocation of 3.7FTE was added to the Lismore Base Hospital Intensive Care Unit, which is currently being recruited to.
‘We regularly review our stocks and supply chains of resources, including PPE and pharmacy items, to ensure adequate supplies’.