Please note javascript is required for full website functionality.

Theatre Upgrade to Continue Expansion of Specialist Services at ORH

Orbost Regional Health (ORH) continues to expand the specialist treatment and diagnostic services that are available in Orbost.

Last month the health service confirmed it had secured funding to renovate the operating theatre to develop an endoscopy suite where it will be able to perform colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures.

This announcement came just weeks after ORH recommenced its dialysis service three days a week.

This now means that local patients no longer have to travel to Bairnsdale for dialysis treatment.

ORH’s Director Clinical and Aged Care Services, Kylie Foltin, said this week that any time the health service was able to expand services it provides locally, it was a win for the local community.

“Any care that can be provided closer to home reduces the burden on patients and their families to travel,” she said. “The cost of transport and accommodation, time away from work and family, it adds up. And so when we’re able to provide top quality specialist services here in Orbost, that’s good for everyone.”

Kylie said she expects colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures to commence in early 2025.

ORH will become one of only a handful of similar-sized health services in Victoria to provide these procedures locally, thanks in part to a $2.1 million grant through the state government’s Regional Health Infrastructure Fund.

Specialist doctors and nurses from Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS) will perform the colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures at ORH in the initial stages, supporting ORH staff training and skill development.

“The partnership with BRHS is really important,” Kylie said. “The willingness of their team to come up to Orbost on a regular basis means our local patients can stay here in town. The partnership also provides the ongoing training and mentoring our staff will need to eventually be able to operate more services independently.”

“Hopefully colonoscopy and endoscopy is just the beginning of what we’re able to do with the upgraded procedure space. We’ll keep applying for funding and we’ll keep working to upskill our staff so we can provide more surgical and diagnostic services closer to home.”

The dialysis service is now able to provide treatment three days a week, thanks to the recent recruitment of Renal Nurse Specialist Lachlan Tompsett, and the support of other dialysis nurses at ORH.

In addition to treating local people, ORH can also provide dialysis service for people visiting the area or passing through, a service called ‘holiday dialysis,’ another win for the broader local community, bringing more people into our main street and local businesses.

The Dialysis service at ORH is supported by Austin Health in Melbourne, which helps coordinate the maintenance and servicing of dialysis equipment and renal services in rural communities across Victoria.

ORH continues to operate its radiology service once a week, supported by a Radiographer from BRHS and two radiology endorsed nurses from ORH.

Kylie said that ORH’s success in expanding specialist services recently had the flow-on effect of helping attract and retain nursing staff.

“Most nurses are curious and ambitious people, who want to learn and upskill, and expand their scope of practice to support local people,” she said. “So when we’re able to reopen services like dialysis, or provide opportunities in imaging, or start doing new diagnostic procedures, for nurses that means training opportunities and career advancement, which makes this health service a more attractive place for nurses to be. That’s good for ORH, and it’s also good for the Orbost community.”