COVID-19 and Health Care

Published on: November 2021

Record: HANSARD-1323879322-120875

COVID-19 and Health Care

Ms FELICITY WILSON (North Shore) (23:19:58):

I recognise and thank our healthcare workers. I know we speak about it quite a bit but I wanted to put on record acknowledgement of the work they have been doing in the challenging environment of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly over the period when the Delta outbreak hit our State. Our healthcare heroes have been on the front line and have put themselves and perhaps their families at risk in order to provide health care for others, whether it is treating COVID‑19 patients or providing ongoing care and support for a range of other health issues and diseases. Our local healthcare workers have been the heroes in the continuous fight against COVID‑19. I put on record the overwhelming support and gratitude of my local community and all of the State in rallying behind them.

I recognise the work and dedication of the Northern Sydney Local Health District [LHD] and thank Chief Executive Deb Willcox for her leadership throughout the pandemic and these challenging times. The Northern Sydney LHD has helped ensure the safety of staff, patients, their families and the broader community, while continuing to provide the best care to patients. The Royal North Shore Hospital was just one of the local hospitals that cared for patients with COVID‑19 and I thank the staff who work in the hospital's dedicated COVID‑19 ward treating people from across the hospital network. I also recognise the staff who were redeployed from non‑critical care services to support colleagues in other local health districts and in the Special Health Accommodation locations, which provided accommodation and support for vulnerable people with COVID‑19.

The Northern Sydney Local Health District has been guided by the expert advice of the clinical advisory group, with senior clinicians representing several health areas. It ensured that it was well prepared with surge planning to be able to increase intensive care unit and COVID ward bed capacity. In my community the local health district team worked with private hospitals and residential aged care facilities to ensure that our elderly residents and staff remained safe. The team was also adaptive, moving outpatient appointments to telehealth where clinically appropriate and managing a temporary suspension of non‑urgent elective surgery. It demonstrated compassion and care in helping our patients and their families to stay connected through technology and video calls while there were restrictions on visitors to hospitals.

Our healthcare workers have also played a critical role in rolling out the COVID‑19 vaccine. Nurses from the LHD worked in vaccination clinics across the State and administered thousands of vaccines to our community through the clinic at the Royal North Shore Hospital. I thank the hospital staff and nurses and all of our local GPs and pharmacists who joined in this fight against COVID‑19 by vaccinating our community. The Royal North Shore Hospital Emergency Department was recently also recognised as the 2021 Australasian Emergency Department of the Year. This national award was announced and presented by the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia. It recognises excellence in patient care and clinical outcomes, excellence in commitment to professional development of staff and excellence in commitment to quality management. The outstanding work and care that the Royal North Shore Hospital Emergency Department provides are second to none, and this prestigious award is a testament to that.

Over the past couple of years our emergency departments have been at the forefront of the pandemic, facing significant pressure and more challenges than ever. In addition to keeping us safe during the pandemic, the Royal North Shore Emergency Department has taken part in a domestic and family violence pilot program, which has been more needed than ever before. The emergency department also played an integral role in the hospital being named in the top 10 performing hospitals by the Australia & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry. The emergency department of the year award is a tremendous honour for Royal North Shore Hospital. I congratulate General Manager Alison Zecchin and the incredible emergency department staff on this outstanding achievement.

I myself have had the great fortune of experiencing its wonderful care when I had to take my little Henry in when he was a very small baby. I know how hard the staff work. It was not the first visit for Henry because he was born during the COVID pandemic, so I have firsthand experience of the way in which this hospital cares for and treats its patients at all times but particularly during the pandemic. The work of our healthcare workers does not stop, as they provide care and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Government continues to invest in its COVID-19 response to ensure that our health system remains world class so we have the capacity to manage any future COVID outbreaks or variants. Our healthcare staff, GPs and pharmacists continue to administer the vaccine, and they will help to ensure that our community can access their booster doses as soon as possible when they are eligible. I once again thank our healthcare staff for all they do to keep our community safe, and particularly for their work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay updated about North Shore

North Shore Skyline