NEUROLOGY has been named among the specialty services Bendigo Health aims to offer in future.
The health care group and Jacinta Allan today convened a media conference at the city’s public hospital to discuss increases to staffing.
Bendigo Health estimates about 170 new full-time and part-time jobs will be created in 2018-19.
Executive director of clinical operations Robyn Lindsay said the new staff would predominantly be working in the acute health space, which includes the emergency department, intensive care unit and acute wards.
But she said recruitment to other areas of the hospital was also expected to incrementally increase.
“Bendigo Health has a clinical services plan that outlines our strategy to develop services over the next two, three, five years, but it’s in alignment with what would be expected for a regional health service and the role we need to play in the state system,” Ms Lindsay said.
“We’re looking to bring on additional specialties over time – things like neurology, rheumatology… we just commenced a vascular surgery program.
“So we do anticipate, over time, that our role will grow and that we’ll be able to provide more services for local people closer to their home.”
Bendigo Advertiser readers raised a need for neurology services at the health care group after the Liberal Nationals last month made an election promise of a surgical robot for the Bendigo Hospital.
Other areas readers suggested warranted investment prior to a surgical robot included a public ear, nose and throat specialist service.
Funding for the new jobs Bendigo Health expects to create this financial year has already been in place for several months.
“We’ve been able to bring a percentage of staff on board already, and we anticipate bringing more staff on right up until the start of the new [financial] year,” Ms Lindsay said.
It is not known how many of the new positions have already been filled.
Ms Lindsay said many of the new staff were working in the emergency department and the cardiology team.
The health care group attributed part of the growth to activity associated with the helipad.
“We anticipated we would receive two to three transfers a week. It’s been about three, consistently, over that time,” Ms Lindsay said.
“Predominantly that’s been cardiology patients and it’s been patients coming from the north-west of Victoria to receive cardiac cath-lab services at Bendigo Health.”
She said patients were transferred either to a ward or to the ICU after having a cardiology interventional service, which was also driving demand for beds.
The health care group said it was opening an additional resuscitation bed in the emergency department, as well as two extra ICU beds, to cater for increased Air Ambulance usage.
“In addition we are getting more people from Bendigo and across the region coming to our hospital, so there are 12 more ward beds than last year,” Ms Lindsay said.
“There is increased activity in every department.”
She said the health care group had been well supported with the funding it received from the state government.
“The increase in funding has matched our increase in demand over the past 18 months to two years,” Ms Lindsay said.
“We anticipate over the next six – 12 months we’ll continue to grow our services as required.”
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