Epworth HealthCare is playing a key part in Victoria’s response to the third wave of COVID-19.

Last week, Epworth signed an agreement with the Department of Health to provide continued support in the statewide response to pandemic, as COVID-19 cases rise.

Epworth Group Chief Executive Dr Lachlan Henderson said a similar agreement was in place through much of last year.

“Epworth is proud to be part of Victoria’s coordinated, statewide response to COVID-19, working closely with the Victorian Department of Health and our public and private sector colleagues for more than 18 months,” Dr Henderson said.

“Last year, in order to effectively address the pandemic, public and private hospital operators worked together to ensure we created the necessary capacity across the entire hospital system in Victoria.”

Epworth played a key role in the response in several areas during 2020: 

  • At the height of the second wave, Epworth was operating two COVID-19 wards at Epworth Richmond, and another at Epworth Brighton, caring for more than 50 COVID-19 positive patients.
  • Epworth sent staff to residential aged care facilities and transferred unwell residents to Epworth 
  • Dozens of medical and surgical patients were transferred from public hospitals to Epworth Eastern.
  • Epworth Geelong hosted a Barwon Health surgical team, to ensure people, including cancer patients, received time-critical surgery.
  • Epworth shared its own internal processes and practices with public and private hospitals about keeping our staff and doctors safe through our unique internal contact tracing team, PPE spotter roles and personal respirators deployed in our ICUs to reduce demand on PPE supplies.
  • Epworth staff were seconded to the Department of Health to assist with contact tracing and data management.

Across the state, Epworth and other private hospitals work closely with neighbouring public hospitals, to facilitate the seamless transfer of temporary care from the public system into private facilities.

Dr Henderson said that’s enabled the public health system to manage capacity and prevent public hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

“As COVID-19 cases increase in the community, it will lead to more patients being admitted to hospital. To ensure capacity, Epworth will support the public system by enabling some urgent public medical and elective surgery procedures to be carried out at Epworth hospitals, if required.”

“Our staff and doctors have done an amazing job to ensure time critical operations continue over the last 18 months. I am immensely proud of the work Epworth has done, under trying conditions.”

With Victoria’s COVID-19 vaccination rate hitting 60% for first doses, Dr Henderson is urging everyone to consider receiving a vaccination to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and demand on hospitals.

”The vaccines available in Australia are safe and extremely effective in reducing rates of hospitalisation and serious illness from COVID-19,” Dr Henderson said.

“Victorians can help our frontline workers by getting vaccinated as soon as they can get an appointment.” 


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