The Eye and Ear’s new Emergency Department

To redevelop an Emergency Department is a significant effort which involves staff from across the hospital. We involve clinicians, managers, support staff We also involve consumers, families, visitors and various other stakeholders. The new Emergency Department will be the first of many new clinical areas that will be redeveloped as part of the larger project. By the time the whole redevelopment project’s finished we’ll have a brand new theatre complex, inpatient wards, outpatients so it’s really just the beginning. We’ve outgrown the department, we really need a new department that’s purpose built. The initial planning has been underway for quite some time and in November 2012 there was a commitment from the government to proceed with the project. Currently on site we have roughly between 80 and 100 men working We’ve got about 7 areas that we’re currently working in, the ED in the Smorgon Family Wing is one of main areas that we’re working on at the moment. On average the department sees about 110 to 120 patients a day and during busy times it could go up to 150 to 180 depending on the day so that’s a lot of patients for the space that we have. We’ve had such wide consultation that everybody already feels that they own the new Emergency Department that they’re part of it. We had a working group which included patients So we had patients, we had clerks, we had nurses, doctors… We also talked to people from our IT Department through to our cleaners Just to ensure that they had a little bit of buy in into the new area One of the major challenges with the redevelopment is that we’re not building on a green site We’re building in the department whilst maintaining the full service. It’s about ensuring that we can make some compromises without compromising our patients at all You can’t just go and turn off the oxygen supply to the hospital, When you’re putting the oxygen system in you’ve got to have all that in place. New gas supply, new heating pipes, medical gases Basically everything’s being upgraded to be new And it’s been here for so long that it does need to be done. The Eye and Ear building is a mix of old and new facilities The building has stood here for over 150 years And it’s been added to and developed over the decades Currently it’s really not particularly fit for purpose for a modern Eye and Ear It’s a very crowded, busy, noisy department Staff morale is very good but we’ll be very pleased to have a little bit less noise What we’re looking forward to in the new Emergency Department is having more space It’s having better patient flow It’s having more comfortable waiting area for the patients and better space for the doctors and nurses to work with. It’ll be a lovely new, fresh environment and I think that has an impact on everyone So we’ve really tried to go for a calming kind of environment Not so sterile to reduce people’s anxiety levels When patients have something wrong with their senses, they’re really anxious, they’re really worried They fear that they’re going to go blind or that they may lose their hearing permanently and to have a state of the art Emergency Department with the best possible equipment, with a calming environment, you know, that’s really important. When the ED is finished, I’m hoping that they’ll not only be much more space and that it will be a lighter and brighter environment but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to see the outside world as well because at the moment you feel very much cut off from that I’m a great believer that a really nice environment is really good for you You feel good, you work better, it’s better for staff, it’s better for volunteers and most certainly better for patients The opening of the Emergency Department is really the first major milestone project of the redevelopment It’s the first bit of the building that’s been completed and that we’ve delivered where we can treat patients in a new facility It will be an opportunity to celebrate a major achievement within the overall program Finding out how the hard work will translate into a more patient centred, patient focused and safer department Improving the patient experience and journey is basically what we strive for and that’s what I’ve been working on since I started working at the Emergency Department If we’re going to continue to be a world leading Eye and Ear Hospital, We need to be providing services in state of the art facilities to support our clinicians to provide a model of care that’s at the cutting edge of new technology and new developments in eye and ear care.

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