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Townsville Hospital and Health Service scales back non-urgent care

Published:  16 December 2022

Please see below a statement from Townsville Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Kieran Keyes:

 We are continuing to see more COVID-19 positive patients at our facilities due to the current increased risk of transmission throughout our community. We currently have 30 inpatients being treated across our health service.

Just like the rest of the community, our health service is also impacted by the recent increase in COVID-19 cases.

At the beginning of last week, we had about 70 staff furloughed and isolating at home. As of this morning, we now have 145 staff out of action.

As you can appreciate, this is placing increased pressure on our ability to deliver services to our community. 

We have been carefully monitoring the situation to ensure we remain responsive to any changes in demand.

We anticipate the number of staff furloughed won’t ease materially over the next fortnight and for this reason, we have made the difficult decision to scale back all non-urgent elective surgery and outpatient appointments from Monday 19 December to ensure we can focus on the most urgent care.

It’s very important for me to note that we will always continue to provide the most urgent (category one) elective surgeries, outpatient and endoscopy services as well as completing any emergency surgery.

This has not been an easy decision to make but it is one that will allow us to redeploy the expertise of our staff to work on urgent areas of need such as category one surgery.

We will contact those community members impacted by this decision and all postponed appointments will be rescheduled for the New Year.

I know this decision will impact our community, but it’s a measure we must take to ensure our hospital can continue to provide critical and emergency care.

I thank you for your understanding and ongoing kindness to our hard-working staff who I know are doing everything they can for their community.

I would also like to thank our staff for their ongoing commitment to our patients, our community and each other. I could not ask for a more dedicated team. They are all incredibly dedicated to the communities they work and live within.

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