26 October 2021
To: All CALHN staff
Purpose: This bulletin provides an update for staff on CALHN preparedness and role in the State’s COVID-19-ready plan.
Action: All Managers are asked to actively share this information with staff who may not have access to email.
Today, the State Government announced South Australia’s COVID-ready plan.
As mentioned in Lesley’s message on Friday, CALHN has been actively preparing for the role we will play in the state’s readiness – and in particular – the central role of the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) as the COVID-19 positive receiving hospital for adults.
With the opening of borders across Australia, we will see an increase of community transmission of COVID-19 and COVID-19 patients requiring testing, clinical assessment, community care and as required, hospitalisation (known as the surge).
Over the next few weeks, we will be finalising our plans which will result in some non-COVID medical and surgical services moved off site or managed in partnership with our private hospital providers and other LHNs to ensure we continue to support the communities health needs and ensure vital services continue.
We will also consider out-of-hospital alternatives where possible for our patient cohorts.
The decanting of services and patients will also ensure that the RAH has the additional capacity required to manage COVID-19 positive patients over the coming months.
As part of our planning:
- more community services are being established to support COVID-19 positive patients at home to ensure they remain well and supported
- treatment options for COVID-19 positive patients that need some care or treatment, and ensure that our Emergency Department see only the most acutely unwell patients
- more wards will be opened for COVID-19 positive patients including extra ICU beds
- outpatient services will transition as many appointments as possible to telehealth appointments and clinics to move to alternative sites
- we are focusing on workforce planning and preparation to manage both surge capacity and for potential scenarios including staff contracting COVID-19
- we are working on plans for non-clinical staff to move off site to alternative sites or working from home
- we are ensuring we are digitally ready to manage working at different sites and locations, including from home and with the right technology
- the RAH will remain the tertiary and quaternary receiving site, so where possible those services will need to be maintained on site for as long as is feasible but may be required to move to other LHNs or hospitals if COVID-19 positive numbers climb quickly.
We understand that as we continue within the planning phase that this can create some uncertainty. The Incident Management Team would like to assure you that we are engaging with programs and services to develop the plans and once plans are finalised, we will let you know. We are planning on a roadshow across our sites in the coming weeks to provide you with an opportunity to learn more about our response and ask any questions you may have. More details will be made available in Lesley’s message.
We thank you for your continued flexibility and agility throughout our response. We did so well in 2020 during our initial response to COVID-19 and again this year during our cluster responses. We are confident in the networks ability to respond to this challenge and keep our community safe.
CALHN COVID-19 Commander