PATIENT throughput numbers at the Camperdown hospital looks set to triple with more patients treated in the first four months of this year than were treated for the entire year before.
The hospital recorded a total of 653 operations for 2016, compared to 722 as of the end of April this year.
South West Healthcare director of service delivery Jamie Brennan said the hospital’s operating theatre was now running at full capacity.
“It is now being used for 9.5 hours five days a week, plus the occasional Saturday,” he said.
“The level of inpatient increase has never been seen before.
“It’s very rare for a hospital of this size to do this amount of work – the level of growth really is phenomenal.
“It’s been incredibly busy and productive.”
Mr Brennan said the increase was part of a concerted plan South West Healthcare set in motion 18 months ago.
“We made a commitment to really increase the amount of services undertaken at Camperdown,” he said.
“South West Healthcare started to experience some pressure on its wait list in Warrnambool, so increasing the number of procedures carried out at Camperdown made sense.
“We’re also in the process of trying to secure a complete redevelopment of the Camperdown hospital, so part of the strategy to carry out more procedures here was to show that the hospital provides a significant service.”
The commitment saw South West Healthcare invest more than $1 million to provide the surgical equipment needed.
Additional to general surgery, the hospital now provided orthopaedic, plastics and reconstructive, ear/nose/throat, gynaecology and urogynaecology and endoscopy surgical services.
The initiative has resulted in the addition of 15 surgeons and specialists, six specialist anaesthetists and six theatre nurses.
Mr Brennan said $500,000 was also invested to expand the hospital’s allied health services to support the increased level of activity.
As a result, a team of six highly qualified physiotherapists occupational therapists, podiatrists, speed pathologists, dietitians and social workers was added.
“The Camperdown hospital is now offering a scope of care that is extremely rare for a hospital of its size,’ Mr Brennan said.
“Not only is it great for the Camperdown hospital, it’s great for the whole region.
“People can now have their procedures carried out locally and don’t have to travel long distances to Warrnambool.
“Having more than 30 extra staff also has a huge flow-on effect for the local community, with the local shops and clubs all benefiting.
“The community can be proud of the fact that it now has a very, very strong and sustainable health service.”