ALBURY hospital boss Michael Kalimnios is "very confident" the emergency department will keep working fully after upbeat replies to an SOS call for doctors.
The Albury Wodonga Health chief executive said the arrival of two locums from Sydney for two weeks and staff changes would ensure no immediate curtailing of casualty services.
"We have been able to extend our ED capacity for at least the next five to seven days to be able to continue to operate that service," Mr Kalimnios said.
"We've done that through...relying on the goodwill of our staff in terms of them working extra shifts and extra rosters as well as supplementing that with some additional locum capacity that we've been able to source.
"That isn't sustainable of course in the long run so we still are working through a number of sources, attracting locum staff for the longer term, we're very confident we will be able to do that.
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"We've been working very collaboratively with NSW Health and indeed Vic health to be able to source locums from interstate, we still haven't had them absolutely confirmed at this stage, but I am hopeful in the next day or two we will be able to secure those resources to keep...our ED operating at full capacity...without the need to divert patients to other centres."
He said locum agencies and the RPA Hospital in Sydney had offered help and the Murrumbidgee Local Health District was also assisting.
"I certainly wouldn't say the crisis has been averted but we are a long way towards averting that crisis," Mr Kalimnios said.
"I do want to be cautious..because...until you've actually got people locked in and in the shifts you can never guarantee anything and if we don't get those staff it will mean that we will have a significant risk issue we will have to deal with.
Mr Kalimnios said a staffing reshape had also resulted in the intensive care unit being able to continue without patient care being compromised.
He said mandated breaks ensured workers could recharge but he noted emergency department staff were "really stretched".
Also on Thursday it was announced that placements for Melbourne university medical students in hospitals run by Albury Wodonga Health and Northeast Health Wangaratta would stop.
That followed a directive by the Victorian Health Department.
Mr Kalimnios could not say how many students would be affected, but added they were not essential to providing critical care.
"I think it's probably a sensible precaution to limit as much as possible people coming from Melbourne that aren't providing critical services to us," he said.
Wangaratta hospital director David Kidd said the move was sparked by a student on placement in Ballarat testing positive to coronavirus.
Pupils from country Victoria are still allowed.
However, he said they would not be able to have access to Northeast Health's emergency department, COVID-19 screening clinic, isolation units and aged care.