Eastern Health’s main focus for Code Brown is workforce availability

Eastern Health said more information will soon be known on what sites and services will be impacted by the Code Brown. 242408_06 PICTURE: ON FILE

By Renee Wood

Yarra Ranges residents needing to access care should be aware of possible changes at local hospitals now the Code Brown emergency management system has been activated.

Eastern Health, including Maroondah Hospital and other services, have joined the state’s healthcare system in entering a Code Brown to alleviate the stress on hospitals and ambulances due to rising Omicron cases.

On Tuesday 18 January, the Department of Health called the coordinated Pandemic Code Brown from midday on Wednesday 19 January and it’s expected to run for up to six weeks.

An Eastern Health spokesperson said the Code Brown will help to focus on workforce availability.

“The main focus of the Code Brown is to ensure we have workforce availability to support the rise in Covid-19 patients attending the health service,” they said.

Changes are still being considered and Eastern Health expects to have more knowledge of what sites and services will be affected soon.

“Over the coming days and weeks, this picture will become clearer and this will dictate further what sites and services will be impacted.

“We will endeavour to keep all patients and community up to date as changes happen, noting that this is a rapidly changing environment.”

The Health Department has also removed IVF services off the suspended elective surgery list and will allow it to go ahead following outcries from specialists and Victorian families.

Acting Health Minister James Merlino said the government thanks Victorians for their patient as they work on having other services restored.

“IVF is a challenging journey for anyone to go through, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic, and we’re deeply sorry for the distress caused by affected services in recent weeks,” he said.

The health department is also looking into other services that can b restored, with some other cancer and rehab appointments included in suspended services during the Code Brown.