June 30, 2018

Our Winter Strategy: Jane Poxon, Chief Operating Officer

Last year Australia experienced the worst ever recorded Flu Season throughout the eastern seaboard states.

We saw an unprecedented number of patients flood our ED, and staff worked under immense pressure.

In September 2017, I attended a roundtable of key stakeholders hosted by the Minister for Health to discuss responses to the unprecedented levels of flu diagnoses and pressures on the broader health care system.

Out of the roundtable we agreed that health services would develop formal 2018 Winter Plans, to support an integrated winter response across Victoria.

Early in the year, we identified key priority areas including patient flow, influx of respiratory illness, our workforce capacity and streamlining discharge.

Daily Medical HOT Clinics have been established to help those in the community with medical conditions needing urgent review, potentially avoiding admission, and facilitating early ward discharge with rapid review within 24-48 hours.

Our Targeted Acute Rehabilitation Program is providing increased allied health intervention to identified patients at Northern Hospital, to increase the number of safe discharges directly home from the acute setting.

In addition, we have extended weekend medical hours for our Residential In Reach: to prevent ED presentations of those in aged care facilities. These additional hours give us the ability to admit patients to the Hospital in The Home (HITH) Program at the weekend.

We have increased HITH beds to assist with reducing our length of stay and increased the operating hours of our Transit Lounge – preventing delays for patients and their families.

These initiatives together with our successful FluVax Campaign have enabled us to deal effectively with the winter so far.

Thank you to all staff for your participation in the Winter Strategy.

It’s been a great team effort that we can all be proud of.

Jane Poxon
Chief Operating Officer