After a long COVID-19 induced break, surgical services are returning to Deniliquin.
At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, surgical services were suspended and measures put in place to protect staff and patients.
General practitioner Ben James welcomed Murrumbidgee Local Health District's decision to restart surgery, saying it would especially benefited the elderly, infirm and those without close family and friends nearby.
"Performing general surgery and endoscopy here in Deniliquin means that locals and those from surrounding towns don't have to travel to have their procedure," Dr James said.
"I have been involved in many, many cases where the patient would simply not have travelled the minimum of one hour elsewhere to stay the night prior in expensive accommodation for bowel prep."
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Dr James said obstetric theatre services, child birth, had not been interrupted by COVID-19.
"Our theatres keep doctors, nurses and ancillary staff practised in anaesthetic and theatre nursing disciplines which translate to exceptional emergency care when needed here in Deniliquin," said Dr James.
MLHD Deniliquin cluster manager Craig McColm said the organisation had undertaken minor infrastructure improvements during the lockdown.
He said there would be a staged reintroduction of surgery at Deniliquin, beginning with endoscopy and general surgery.
Mr McColm said if a COVID-19 outbreak occurred, surgery could again be suspended.
"Patient safety is always our main consideration," he said.