2022 - Year in Review

Dr Paul Collett

Virtual Hospital shows the way of the future

COVID-19 was a step into the unknown for everyone involved in healthcare, but NSLHD’s Virtual Hospital is a shining example of how the challenges have been met. Established just after the pandemic arrived in Australia and comprising a multidisciplinary team of clinical and administrative said Paul, a former head of the department of general medicine at RNSH. their treatment virtually and discussing their symptoms and welfare needs.

“I had been a department head and had clinical and management experience. I felt I had the necessary skill set for the position. I think we all felt COVID-19 would place a huge strain on healthcare, but for me, this role was a challenge that had to be met.” Located on the St Leonards campus, the team of doctors, nurses and administrative staff triaged and treated all patients in NSLHD with COVID-19 who were referred by all pathology services and the Public Health Unit. During the pandemic’s busiest times, the team made about 350 calls a day to patients managing

“Trying to switch off (from the pandemic) could be tough,” Paul said. “It was about compartmentalising, even though COVID-19 was everywhere. I think that having a multidisciplinary effort from all involved and good communication across all teams was key to its efficiency.” Beyond COVID-19, the Virtual Hospital has played an increasingly prominent role in the district’s health service, treating a range of patients who didn’t require hospital admission, but needed care in their homes. “It’s been challenging at times but I’m happy I’ve been part of a team that’s made a difference.”

staff, the service has provided at-home care to thousands of patients across the district. It was been crucial in ensuring the district’s hospitals were not overrun and patients with COVID-19 could recover at home. For Renal Physician Dr Paul Collett, who was appointed Clinical Medical Director of the hospital, leading the service has been a challenging but rewarding experience. “I think the medical profession overall wanted to contribute whatever we could to get us through COVID-19, even though it was an unknown situation,”

43 NSLHD 2022 Year in Review

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