Five years serving the Geelong community

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Epworth Geelong is celebrating five years of helping the local community – and Leonie Lloyd has been there every step of the way.

In 2014, Ms Lloyd was the clinical operations manager while the hospital site at Waurn Ponds was still a paddock.

Now its executive general manager, she said the hospital had come a long way since opening its doors in July 2016.

“When we opened Epworth Geelong, we had 350 employees,” Ms Lloyd said.

“We now have 1,100 staff to meet the growing demand for cardiac, cancer, maternity, orthopaedic and emergency care.

“It is really humbling to see the support we have received from the community in the past five years.”

Born in Geelong she has lived in the region for most of her life, and said most employees and doctors were locals.

“Our employees are committed to the region, so you could be caring for your next-door neighbour or your friend’s mum,” Ms Lloyd said.

“There are so many local connections in a community like this.“

More than 120,000 people from Geelong and surrounding areas have been admitted to the hospital since it opened.

On the first day, just three patients were operated on in one of the 11 operating theatres. There are now about 100 procedures each day.

The number of day oncology patients is up 25 percent, while overnight stays have doubled to 500 admissions per year.

In the past five years, Epworth Geelong has:

  • Admitted 122,000 patients
  • Treated 50,000 emergency department patients
  • Performed more than 10,000 scopes (colonoscopy, gastroscopy, colposcopy)
  • Removed 4,500 cataracts

Epworth Geelong was the region’s first hospital to carry out neurosurgery, with more than 1,000 procedures done in the past five years.

The hospital also played a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic response, working closely with others in the region.

Care was coordinated during challenging circumstances.

Epworth Geelong hosted a University Hospital Geelong surgical team during the pandemic, leading to faster diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other health issues for patients in the Geelong community.

At the start of the pandemic, a generous donation from the Anthony Costa Foundation enabled an expansion of the intensive care unit (ICU), fitting out three new ICU rooms and three high dependency rooms.

Epworth Geelong has also experienced a COVID-19 baby boom, with maternity bookings up 25 percent on last year.

“It is no surprise that expectant mothers are choosing Epworth Geelong to have their babies,” Ms Lloyd said.

“Our obstetricians, midwives and nurses provide exceptional prenatal, birth and postnatal care.

“Our birthing suites are five-star hotel-standard, with an abundance of natural light and the purpose-built suites create a welcoming and safe experience for birthing mothers.”

Throughout the pandemic there has been an increase in people moving to the area, and she expected Epworth Geelong would continue to grow to meet that need.

“We’ve seen an influx of people moving, not only from Melbourne but from other regions into Geelong,” she said.

“On top of that, we have families coming back as return patients, whether it’s to have another baby or to have other treatment after they’ve had a positive experience at Epworth Geelong.”

Despite current lockdown conditions in Victoria, the Epworth Geelong staff managed to celebrate the hospital’s milestone birthday with cake.

Read more: Lessons learned - starting a hospital from scratch

Read more: Baby boom for Epworth staff during COVID-19 pandemic

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