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Jul 31 2020

COVID-19 Update

This year has certainly taken some unexpected twists and turns. We have found ourselves playing a pivotal role in coordinating communications and integration between the primary and acute care health systems, enabling us to help manage the medical response in our region during the pandemic.

Since the early days of the COVID pandemic, we have continued to adapt and respond to the new COVID19 environment in terms of business continuity and ensuring the work health and safety of staff, as well as the organisation’s role in supporting the health response to COVID-19.

Some of the work we have been doing includes our:

  • COVID-19 Plan for supporting General Practice

  • COVID-19 Plan for supporting Allied Health

  • COVID-19 Plan for Supporting Residential Aged Care Facilities

  • Additional Mental Health Services for the Community

  • Consultation and Engagement with Key Stakeholders

Our work with Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) has been particularly important as we navigate ensuring continuity of care for our most vulnerable. We are aware of the impact COVID-19 outbreaks have on the delivery of care provided by a resident’s usual GP. In most cases, GPs who provide care across multiple RACFs also provide to patients at their own practice.

Our primary care response plan assists RACFs in their planning and response, and provides an overview of our preparedness and response plan for primary care in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. The plan outlines scenarios that could be applied in RACFs during an outbreak, and the role and support that we will provide to an RACF in the development of their own outbreak management plan.

Throughout all of this, we also have the community top of mind, not forgetting that before the pandemic, bushfires and floods devastated parts of our region. We know that people are vulnerable during these challenging and unprecedented times, and we are working hard to establish services and supports for those affected.

I want to acknowledge our staff, stakeholders and communities who have shown incredible resilience and an impressive ability to adapt to this new way of life. The world as we knew it may have changed, but I have no doubt that whatever the future holds – our work in disaster preparedness and response will ensure we are better equipped to support and service those who need us.

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Lizz Reay is the CEO of Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network. Previously Deputy CEO of Nepean Blue Mountains Medicare Local & Nepean Division of General Practice, she has an extensive background in public health.

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