The Australian Defence Force and an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) have concluded their support at Burnie’s North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) following an outbreak of COVID-19 among its staff.
CAPTION: Australian Army nursing officer Lieutenant Celie Bright-Perry from 2nd General Health Battalion, outside the emergency department of the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie Tasmania during Operation COVID-19 Assist. Photo by Corporal Nicci Freeman.
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Fifty members of the ADF and seven AUSMAT health professionals ensured the NWRH emergency department remained open, providing essential health services to more than 400 patients.
The team included ADF medical doctors, emergency nurses, a pharmacist, a radiographer, an environmental health officer and a small group of general support personnel.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the ADF had shown its ability once again to co-ordinate and support state and territory governments when called upon.
“This was the first time the ADF had been called on to help operate a domestic hospital,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Within just a matter of hours of being tasked, the team was heading to Tasmania to assist.
“For more than two weeks, they provided support to the people of north-west Tasmania, including enhanced infection control, primary care, acute resuscitation, minor procedures and consulting care.
“Just like we saw through Operation Bushfire Assist, the ADF’s support under Operation COVID-19 Assist is a testament to the professionalism of the ADF.”
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the swift deployment of the ADF and the AUSMAT to north-west Tasmania reflected the agile nature of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s also a reflection of just how well prepared we were for the coronavirus outbreak and the extraordinary medical expertise we are able to activate at a moment’s notice,” Minister Hunt said.
“I want to thank all of the ADF and AUSMAT personnel involved in this operation for the wonderful work they have undertaken, which helped to ensure this outbreak was quickly contained.”
The handover process to NWRH staff began online earlier this week and was followed by a physical induction on 28 April, with the final handover taking place yesterday.