Central Adelaide team of doctors and nurses deployed to Victoria to support its COVID-19 response

Two doctors and four nurses from Central Adelaide are gaining new insights and skills in caring for COVID patients, while also supporting their interstate colleagues, as part of a 12-day deployment to Victoria.

The team is working at the Northern Hospital Epping, providing relief to their Victorian counterparts while capturing their learnings through regular briefings in preparation for the reopening of South Australian borders.

CALHN Medical Services Executive Director, Professor Gerry O’Callaghan, is working as an intensive care specialist in the hospital’s COVID-19 ICU and intensive care outreach service.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to assess our own COVID readiness and to calibrate our systems and processes with an organisation which has been through a protracted COVID-19 response,” Prof O’Callaghan said.

“The system here has had to learn at scale while under pressure, which it is very valuable for us to observe up close.”

He highlighted the contribution of the Central Adelaide ICU nurses.

“Our ICU nurses are doing a fantastic job, teaching, coaching and mentoring the nurses from the operating room and recovery who have been reassigned to ICU for 6 months,” he said.

“They have been very well received; it has been wonderful to see them in action.”

Professor O’Callaghan said the deployment was a response to a request from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services for healthcare workers to relieve its fatigued workforce.

“They are very busy, they’ve asked for help and we’ve said we will give them a hand,” he said.

Prof O’Callaghan said the deployment was a unique opportunity to gain clinical experience in the care of COVID-19 patients.

“We’re very interested in seeing how the Northern Hospital Epping has supported staff wellbeing during this period of sustained organisational pressure and will connect back with our teams in SA daily to share information and learnings.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team in another environment – it’s a real privilege.”

The team’s experience would help inform Central Adelaide’s response after the state borders reopen on 23 November, he said.

“We have a wonderful facility at the RAH and we’ve done extensive planning and preparations including educating and training our clinical workforce.

“We will have significant levels of vaccination in the community, so I believe the combination of high levels of vaccination, good people and facilities will stand South Australia in good stead,” Prof O’Callaghan said.