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New Hervey Bay ED preparing to open doors

Hervey Bay Hospital’s new emergency department will open its doors to patients next week, heralding a new era of health care for the Fraser Coast and broader Wide Bay region.

The state-of-the-art new ED, which will occupy the ground floor of the $44.66 million three-storey facility, will open its doors to new patients from 7am on Thursday, January 31.

The new ED will have 46 treatment spaces in total, including 37 emergency bays, three isolation rooms, a safe assessment room and five procedure rooms – more than doubling the current department’s capacity.

It also incorporates contemporary design to better meet patient care needs, improve flow and efficiency, and provide an enhanced overall patient experience.

The first and second storeys of the new building will include a Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) – which will be double the size of the current equivalent – education and training facilities, and space for future inpatient services, to help meet the needs of a fast-growing region.

Acting Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Mark Bailey said the new ED would help the emergency team continue to provide vital health services to the community as demand continued to grow.

“The Hervey Bay Hospital emergency department is a significant investment by the Palaszczuk Government for the whole Fraser Coast, which will help handle the future health care demands in the region,” Mr Bailey said.

“The new department will double the number of emergency beds, increasing patient capacity.

“Not only does this upgrade address existing capacity issues, but provides a modern, expanded facility that will be able to handle the predicted 29% growth in patient demand in a decade’s time.

“The project has also led to the creation of about 170 construction jobs, which is great news for the local economy.”

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair Peta Jamieson said the move into the new emergency department signalled a milestone for a project that had been a top priority for the Board for several years.

“Building capacity is a key part of our strategic plan, Care Comes First … Through Patients’ Eyes, and this project is a crucial demonstration of that,” Ms Jamieson said.

“There have been long-standing capacity challenges at Hervey Bay and we know those challenges will only increase, so it was vital to provide a new facility for patients as well as for staff – who have been working incredibly hard to meet the needs of their community in a challenging environment.

“This forward-thinking development also allows us to develop and upskill our staff with the help of greatly enhanced training and education facilities.

“This in turn aids our recruitment and retention, meaning we’re better able to have a sustainable workforce providing high-quality continuity of care for our community.”

WBHHS Chief Executive Adrian Pennington said staff were now busy making the final preparations to open the doors of the department to patients next week.

“All the clinical equipment is in place, commissioning and compliance testing has been happening for weeks, and staff have been undergoing orientation sessions and patient scenario simulations to get ready for operations in the new department,” Mr Pennington said.

“We’ve been working on this project for a number of years now, from planning and design through to construction and commissioning, so our staff are very excited to see this become reality.

“On moving day, patients already being cared for in the current emergency department will be relocated to the new ED earlier in the morning, as clinically appropriate, ready for the 7am shift team. Anyone presenting to our emergency department from 7am onwards should walk through the doors of the new facility.

“At this point, I’d like to ask for the community’s patience. We have very detailed relocation and contingency plans in place, but this is after all an emergency department and anything can happen. Please remember to leave the emergency department for emergencies, particularly on moving day.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to our incredible staff, who have delivered consistently outstanding service to our patients despite working out of a department that has been unable to keep pace with demand.”

The Clinical Decisions Unit will relocate to the first floor of the new building in late February, while the final stage – including demolition of parts of the current CDU, and construction of another lift shaft and further access points – is expected to be complete by July.

Last updated: 26 July 2019