West Moreton Health to double number of ICU beds to cope with coronavirus cases.
West Moreton Health to double number of ICU beds to cope with coronavirus cases.

Region’s hospitals to expand ICU beds amid Covid-19 chaos

DESPITE seven days with no new coronavirus cases recorded in the region, West Moreton Health is not taking any chances.

The health unit told the Gatton Star it had made plans to more than double its number of Intensive Care Unit beds across the region, increasing the capacity from just seven to 16.

At present, 37 patients in the region have been diagnosed with coronavirus, with one in the Lockyer Valley and one in the Somerset.

The number of ICU beds could currently only accommodate 19 per cent of the region's patients.

Ipswich Hospital executive director Michael Lewczuk said the increase in ICU beds represented a sustainable balance between the current resources needed in the community and foreseeable demand.

"In the event that more ICU beds were needed, West Moreton Health would liaise with the Statewide Intensive Care Clinical Network, which coordinates the strategic continuity of intensive care in hospitals throughout Queensland," Mr Lewczuk said.

While West Moreton Health declined to comment on whether any of the region's 37 coronavirus patients were currently in ICU, Mr Lewczuk said the availability of beds fluctuated.

"The number of available ICU beds fluctuates throughout each day, depending on admissions and discharges," he said.

"Should patients at Gatton, Boonah, Esk or Laidley hospitals require intensive care during the Covid-19 outbreak, they will be cared for at Ipswich Hospital or another Queensland Health hospital, depending on demand."

The expansion comes as part of a statewide coronavirus response plan set to support the health system response to the pandemic.

As well as increasing the Ipswich Hospital's ICU capacity, the Emergency Department is also to expand.