San Fernando General & Teaching Hospital. (Image: SWRHA)

The South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) is giving assurances that it is providing the full suite of medical services at its facilities—especially Theatre Services, Outpatients Clinics (OPC) and triage assessments at Emergency Departments—despite the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to an official statement issued today, the SWRHA says members of the public have been able to access surgeries, receive continuous treatment at its Outpatients Clinics, and obtain immediate attention at its Emergency Departments.

“In 2020, the Authority successfully completed 10,583 surgeries, despite the limitations posed by the COVID-19,” the statement reports.  “The SWRHA is gradually returning to a normal theatre surgery schedule, currently augmented by an automated surgical waiting list management system, which will significantly improve our scheduling of theatre services, earmarked to return to full operations from February 1, 2021. The Authority has commenced the process of contacting and informing patients of appointment schedules,” the SWRHA assures.

The SWRHA release also explains how the Authority’s Emergency Departments function.

“Members of the public are also reminded that our Emergency Departments utilise the Canadian Triage Acuity System (CTAS), where patients are triaged based on their need of care.  Most urgent cases are attended to—first on priority. It is not based on a first come, first served basis,” the release stated.

The SWRHA statement also addressed concerns over the operations of the Outpatient Clinics (OPCs), which were affected by the pandemic for much of 2020, and let to creation of “telemedicine services, in which doctors and patients consulted via the telephone on an appointment basis”.

“While all in-person surgical OPC services resumed fully in December 2020, the Authority adopted an integrated approach, blending telemedicine with in-person consultation services. Both medical professionals and patients hailed the efficiency and effectiveness of this approach,” the statement read.

The SWRHA is reminding all patients requiring information on Clinic Appointment, Theatre Services or information on SWRHA services to call its toll free Customer Care Centre, at 87-SWRHA (877-9742).