BALLARAT Health Services has temporarily opened six new beds for elective operations with overnight stays to alleviate pressure during the winter months.
Operational performance and organisational improvement acting executive director Matthew Hadfield said pressure on beds was at its strongest in winter, with emergency operations taking priority.
He said elective operations where patients had to stay overnight were often the first thing to be cancelled.
“It’s not fair on people waiting for elective surgeries to have it cancelled,” Mr Hadfield said.
“Many only need a single overnight stay.”
Since opening on Monday last week, the hospital has performed an 12 extra operations as a result of 12 people staying in the unit.
He said BHS had fewer day-care patients as they were often operated on at regional hospitals in surrounding towns.
Mr Hadfield said BHS had identified an open space which had previously been an intensive care unit, so was fitted with necessary facilities.
He said it had also operated as a transit lounge and the engineering office while hospital areas had been shuffled.
The transit lounge has moved to the old chemotherapy area on the fourth floor, which has moved into the cancer centre, and engineering has moved back downstairs.
“It allows us to take on another six patients a day,” Mr Hadfield said.
He said the arrangement was being trialled and, if successful, BHS would try to introduce the unit again.
“There is a long-term plan for this area for diagnostics,” he said.
“We don’t need this area 12 months of the year.
“Winter is a peak period in hospital admissions, so we will probably only need it during winter.”
It is staffed between 2.30pm and 8am Monday to Thursday, with elective operations not taking place on