A statement from Wayne Jones, Chief Executive, Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD).
It has been identified that the surgical instrument washers and steam sterilising machines at Grafton Base Hospital (GBH) are not functioning correctly.
The machines are experiencing intermittent issues, and staff are working to rectify these urgently.
Patient safety is a paramount concern, and we assure the community that no affected instruments have been used in any surgical procedures.
Grafton Base Hospital complies with the Australian standards governing the reprocessing of reusable surgical instruments.
Additional surgical instruments are being sourced to supplement the supply at GBH, and extra capacity is being added at the Lismore Base Hospital sterilising department to provide support, but some surgical cases are being rescheduled.
We apologise to affected patients for this inconvenience.
We are working with surgeons and waitlist staff to minimise delays and are taking clinical conditions into account when rescheduling cases. Around 80 percent of planned surgeries are still progressing as usual, and those remaining will be fast tracked when new equipment is delivered.
To reduce any future risk of recurring issues, the sterilising machines will be replaced. A new reverse osmosis water treatment plant is also being installed to mitigate against any issues with on-site water filtration systems which supply the sterilising machinery.
Additional staffing is being allocated to the Surgical Department, to assist with completing elective surgical procedures, with recruitment currently underway.
If any patient awaiting surgery is concerned or believes their condition has changed, they should contact Ms Jackie Rogan, waiting list coordinator, on (02) 6641 8347.