Pambula Hospital now has a permanent and much-needed role to play in the community through the success of the urgent care facility.
The nurse practitioner model of urgent care at the Pambula Assessment, Treatment and Care Centre (ATC) is proving so successful that the News Weekly understands the Southern NSW Local Health District may even consider replicating it at other community hospitals such as Bombala and Delegate.
Since the introduction of the nurse practitioner model of care in December 2018 almost 2000 patients have sought medical help at Pambula Hospital with less than 10 per cent needing to be transferred to the South East Regional Hospital (SERH).
Nurse practitioner Michelle Cruse said they were seeing patients from as far afield as Mallacoota, Bombala and Bournda with a lot coming from Eden as the loss of two GPs due to retirement had put pressure on the GP service there.
Following the successful introduction of the nurse practitioner model, the district will continue to have a nurse practitioner at Pambula ATC, with the service open seven days a week.Southern NSW Local Health District
A Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) spokesman said the nurse practitioner led model of care at Pambula was performing well, with the practitioner able to triage category 4 and 5 patients, write prescriptions, stabilise presenting patients if required and create a pathway of care as needed.
"Since the introduction of the model in December 2018, the practitioners have attended to 1982 patients, with 173 referred to South East Regional Hospital (SERH) for higher-level treatment," the spokesman said.
Perhaps most encouragingly he added: "Following the successful introduction of the nurse practitioner model, the district will continue to have a nurse practitioner at Pambula ATC, with the service open seven days a week."
Nurses at Pambula said they were seeing, on average, one patient a week with chest pains and urged anyone with life threatening conditions to call an ambulance on triple 000. However Ms Cruse said they would assess anyone who came in the door.
Read more:New life breathed into Pambula Hospital
The news about the nurse practitioner model comes on the back of $2.6 million of upgrades to the facility and president of Save Our Hospital Inc Sharon Tapscott, said she was very pleased with the outcome.
"It has far exceeded our expectations and is a credit to the health infrastructure," Ms Tapscott said.
Newly refurbished wards have made a huge difference with big improvements to the reception and waiting room, nurses station, a new gym rehab centre and ATC.
On June 17 12 patients were returned to the newly refurbished Pambula Hospital. In the meantime work continues at the community health building.