Hospital ward handover

CUTTING EDGE: Country Health SA South East regional director Jayne Downs stands at the new 16-bed medical ward, which is a state-of-the-art new addition to the Mount Gambier Hospital. Picture: SANDRA MORELLO HOME STRETCH: Construction worker Craig Gericke is busy in the new consulting and treatment area, which is just three weeks away from being completed.

PATIENTS will start flowing into the state-of-the-art new 16 bed medical ward at the Mount Gambier Hospital following the new wing being handed over to staff Tuesday, September 23.

The new medical ward is the largest addition to the public health facility since it was built in 1997.

The new ward features single rooms with ensuites, two purpose-built bariatric rooms that cater for people weighing up to 300kg, as well as an isolation room for contagious illnesses.

“We are so pleased to see the new ward come to completion,” Country Health SA South East regional director Jayne Downs said on the eve of its opening.

She said staffing for the new ward would be based on nursing hours per patient per day.

“So if we have more patients, we need more nursing hours,” she said.

“If the hospital was full and the new ward was full, there would be more nurses working on the day – it very much responds to need.”

While the hospital would be “okay” with nursing numbers as they stood, she said she would not be surprised if the facility gradually needed more.

She said the new ward would provide a cluster of benefits for patients.

“For patients, it will mean there are more options to have a single room with its own ensuite – that can be really important for people who are particularly unwell,” Ms Downs said.

“It is just a lovely modern spacious facility – we have a wonderful hospital here, but this is even a step up again.”

She said the new wing was “cutting-edge” compared with other country hospitals in the state.

“They are single rooms because that is the standard required if you went to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital,” Ms Downs said.

“It will be a very similar look.”

Asked if the upgrade would help with staff recruitment, she said the new emergency department, mental health unit and ward would be another sweetener for medical professionals to relocate to Mount Gambier.

The new ward will accommodate a variety of patients, with the beds not specifically earmarked for patients, such as palliative care.

“They will be medical beds, but certainly there will be the rehabilitation patients down there but in addition to that it will be who is best suited right across the hospital.”

She said an important feature of the new ward was the two-purpose built bariatric rooms that were designed to cater for very large people.

Meanwhile, the next milestones of the redevelopment would include new consulting and treatment rooms, a new chemotherapy suite and pharmacy.

“The chemotherapy suite will go from our current two chairs to six,” Ms Downs said.

She said the current pharmacy was too small for the expanding hospital.

Meanwhile, the last part of the emergency department refurbishment was on track to be finished within five to six weeks.

Ms Downs said the redevelopment had been phenomenal given contractors only started breaking ground in September last year.

“It really has gone amazingly well,” she said.