West Moreton doctors, nurses, paramedics and health professionals are expected to receive up to $49.2 million in extra funding to ramp up their COVID-19 preparations thanks to the Palaszczuk Government.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles along with Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard, Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden, Member for Jordan Charis Mullen and Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum today met with staff at Ipswich Hospital to thank them for their dedication to protecting their community.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said COVID-19 has affected communities across our state, and I would like to thank the staff at Ipswich Hospital for their ongoing dedication to protecting their fellow Queenslanders,” Ms Howard said.
“We are in extraordinary circumstances, and I would like to wholeheartedly thank our health heroes on the frontline who have been working around the clock to care for and manage patients who have fallen ill to COVID-19.
“They have done such a wonderful job from the beginning in planning and responding to COVID-19 in their community.”
Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said the staff at West Moreton Hospital and Health Service dealing with COVID-19 have responded significantly.
“Since the beginning of the global outbreak, West Moreton’s first line of defence has been its Public Health Unit (PHU) staff who are tasked with the important work of finding, testing and isolating people suspected of having COVID-19,” Mr Madden said.
“It’s that important work along with caring for those who caught the illness that really shows how dedicated these wonderful staff are to their community, and for that I would like to thank them.”
Member for Jordan Charis Mullen said West Moreton Hospital and Health Service has also capitalised on its existing MeCare virtual hospital program, which was developed in partnership with Philips, to support COVID-19 patients recovering at home.
“MeCare allows clinicians to remotely monitor and support the care needs of patients who can remain in the comfort of their own homes and leave hospital beds available for those who need it most,” Ms Mullen said.
“This is a great example of how the heroes on the frontline are able to adapt and implement innovative and socially distanced appropriate technology to benefit patients.
Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum said the majority of patients with COVID-19 in the West Moreton region have recovered and commended the health staff for their efforts.
“It is so great that almost every single person who contracted COVID-19 in West Moreton has recovered,” Mr McCallum said.
“I want to thank each and every person who played their part, either as a nurse or doctor on the frontline, or by staying home as much as possible to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.”
Minister Miles said one of the main purposes of the visit is to meet with key clinicians and executives to discuss their planning and preparedness should COVID-19 cases increase in the region.
“Every one of our Hospital and Health Services has a comprehensive plan in place but pandemics by their very nature are unpredictable and apt to change rapidly so it’s critical they have our full support,” Minister Miles said.
“Even though right now, Queensland has been successfully flattening the curve, we need to remain agile and prepared in case that situation changes.”
To date 1,034 cases of COVID-19have been confirmed in Queensland, with one new case reported in the past day. Six people have died from the disease.
West Moreton Hospital and Health Service is currently managing two positive cases of COVID-19 with one patient currently being treated in Ipswich Hospital. The Health Service has managed a total of 37 positive cases.
West Moreton Health chief executive Dr Kerrie Freeman said funding to the service was being used to expand fever clinics and boost emergency department capacity and acute care services.
“We have made plans to more than double our ICU beds, from 7 to 16, which represents a sustainable balance between the current resources we need for the community and foreseeable demand,” she said.
“West Moreton Health has developed a tiered response to the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure we have the agility to respond appropriately to increased presentations while providing optimal business-as-usual care for the community.”
Queensland Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young said no region was immune to COVID-19.
“While the majority of cases are in southeast Queensland, there have also been cases in regional areas of the state,” she said.
“This is a pandemic, which means no matter where people live, they are at risk of COVID-19. The best way to avoid infection is to follow our advice and comply with rules in place regarding quarantine and isolation, social distancing, shutdown protocols, personal hygiene and non-essential travel.
“Heeding our advice will save lives; if not your own, then someone else’s.”