UPDATE, Tuesday, 4pm:
South West Healthcare is warning of future extended delays at its Warrnambool emergency department after experiencing high demand.
That came after SWH issued a warning about delays via social media on Monday.
A SWH spokesperson on Tuesday afternoon thanked the community for its patience and support for the emergency department and our staff.
"We expect in the coming months there will be further times of peak demand for our ED, driven by a number of factors and in-line with what is happening across the country," they said.
"When this happens we will ensure to always keep the community in the loop as we did on Monday and we encourage you to follow our Facebook page for updates over the coming weeks.
"We would also like to clarify that there was a mixture of presentations over the weekend and Monday, and that demand on our ED is not majority driven by COVID cases, although we expect COVID cases to continue to rise locally.
"We feel this is important to note."
The spokesperson said winter was a busy time for the Warrnambool hospital and a crucial time for residents o take care of their health.
"We'd like to encourage everyone to make an appointment with their GP or make a telehealth appointment if you have any niggling health concerns, and to please get your COVID booster and your flu jab to protect your immune system this winter," they said.
"If you are the sporty type, please make sure you do some extra warm-ups this weekend, and don't put off any physio exercises or appointments you have.
"Any preventative measures you can take to look after your health, also helps reduce the demand on our ED.
"SWH's emergency department will always be here for those who need us.
"However, for those who need non-emergency care, we will be pinning this post to the top of our Facebook page with all the contact details you need to seek alternative options."
The spokesperson said a face-to-face appointment with your regular GP was always the best option, however If you were unable to make an appointment with your GP you can try a number of options.
Those options include:
If you are experiencing COVID symptoms or respiratory illness you can try:
If you are looking for assistance with your mental health help is available 24 hours a day by phoning SWH Mental Health Services EMERGENCY LINE on 1800 808 284.
Other alternatives include:
Earlier: South West Healthcare has issued an alert via social media that its emergency department is under pressure.
A spokesperson said on Monday that the emergency department was currently experiencing high demand.
"We want to let the community know that there will be extended waiting times over the next 24 hours," they said.
"If you are not experiencing urgent or life-threatening trauma, and you do not believe that your illness/injury will deteriorate into urgent or life-threatening trauma in the next 24 hours, could you please try one the below alternatives first before coming to the Warrnambool Base Hospital ED?"
The spokesperson said if you are experiencing COVID symptoms or respiratory illness you can try the Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080
"If you are COVID positive and are eligible for antivirals please call your GP for a telehealth appointment and script, or call the Bellarine Respiratory Clinic on 03 9975 8401," they said.
"If you are looking for assistance with your mental health help is available 24 hours a day by phoning SWH Mental Health Services emergency line on 1800 808 284 other alternatives include:"
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