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COVID-19: Private hospital on standby to ease public surgical burden

Cairns Private Hospital has offered to perform public elective surgeries, including ophthalmic procedures, to ensure the region’s main public health facility has the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Far North Queensland private healthcare provider, which is part of Ramsay Health Care and has nine eye specialists, announced the plan on 13 March, which would see it undertake planned surgeries scheduled for patients at Cairns Hospital.

Ramsay Cairns CEO Mr Ben Tooth said Cairns Private Hospital was on standby to ease the surgical burden at Cairns Hospital. As of Tuesday morning, there are 1823 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia, with 319 of those in Queensland.

“We are willing and able to perform a range of ortho, ENT, ophthalmology, gynaecology, general surgery, plastics and urology cases to lighten the load on the public hospital as the impact of the coronavirus continues to evolve and develop,” he said.

“While we face the unknown in terms of the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on the Gold Coast, it’s vital that health providers work together to deliver the best care and treatment to people within our community.

“As the public hospital readies itself for an influx of confirmed coronavirus cases, Cairns Private Hospital is willing and able to help reduce the region’s public elective surgery lists to prevent a backlog of cases down the track.”

Tooth said Cairns Private Hospital was well-resourced and prepared to manage the impacts of COVID-19.

“All Ramsay Health Care facilities have strict infection control and prevention protocols along with well- established systems and staff to protect healthcare workers, patients and visitors,” he said.

Tooth added that Ramsay Health Care was closely monitoring updates from the Australian Department of Health to ensure its facilities could respond swiftly and decisively to any changes in protocol requirements.

“Ramsay Health Care has created a COVID-19 response team to keep up to date with the evolution of the outbreak and we are also working closely with local public health units in each region,” he said.