Dr Daniel Bitman and nurse unit manager Wendy Thomas.
Dr Daniel Bitman and nurse unit manager Wendy Thomas. Patrick Woods

Major refurb planned for Coast's first hospital

NAMBOUR General Hospital is undergoing the biggest shake-up in its history as the opening of the new $1.8 billion public hospital at Kawana approaches, but Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service staff staying at Nambour are excited about its new future.

While about 1800 staff are set to depart when Sunshine Coast University Hospital opens, a multi-million dollar refurbishment of NGH would see local staffing levels boosted by 2021, health service chief executive Kevin Hegarty said.

Michael Tsigolis is one of 1200 staff set to remain at NGH when SCUH opens.

"Some of these buildings," he said, gesturing behind him toward NGH Blocks 2 and 6, "all the departments are leaving, and we have to renovate."

While plans were yet to be finalised, wards would remain intact and functional while parts of the buildings might become consulting rooms, he said.

Between now and when the SCUH's staged opening completes on April 4, Nambour hospital will shift from a 425-bed regional hospital to a level three facility, building to 246 by 2020-2021.

Mr Tsigolis wasn't complaining about the prospect of more space at the facility, and more car parks.

In the years leading up to the opening of SCUH, the Nambour hospital had been deliberately expanded beyond its intended capacity to support the development of new services, with more than 3000 staff based at NGH, Mr Hegarty said.

NGH director of nursing and facilities manager Graham Wilkinson said while the hospital would be downsized, it would continue to provide a range of services from inpatient mental health to aged care.

Some services, including all birthing services, will now transfer from NGH to SCUH, while pre-natal and post-natal appointments will be available at both NGH and SCUH.

The emergency department will lose some staff to SCUH, but will remain open and fully operational, NGH emergency department clinical director Dr Daniel Bitmead (pictured) said.

"The senior doctors who work at the emergency department here will work across both sites," he said. "We want to make sure that the expertise the emergency staff bring with them is shared across the region."

He said he and emergency department nurse unit manager Wendy Thomas were passionate about making sure a patient walking through the door at Nambour's emergency department had the same level of care as a patient at SCUH.

HOW THE TRANSITION WILL UNFOLD

Nambour General Hospital: 425-bed facility. From end March 2017: transfer out services to SCUH, refurbishment will commence by October 2018. Refurbishment commences late 2017, completed 2020/21; acute and sub-acute services, including rehabilitation and mental health will grow from April 2017. By end 2020/21: 250-bed facility

Caloundra Health Service: 83-bed facility. From end March 2017: transfer services to SCUH (ED and Acute only), minor injury and illness clinic established March 2017; transition to integrated community hub with minor injuries and illness clinic; refurbishment commence by November 2017. Refurbishment complete by late 2018. 2018/19: 41-bed facility with minor injuries and illness clinic

Sunshine Coast University Hospital: From March 2017: transfer in services from NGH and CHS. 2018/19: 602-bed facility. 2021/22: remaining beds will be commissioned, taking facility up to its 738-bed capacity

All other hospitals: 2018 - Maleny: 24 beds. Gympie: 90 beds. Noosa: 20 beds. Mid 2018 - Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital contract ends, 110 beds transfer to SCUH

SERVICES REMAINING AT NAMBOUR GENERAL HOSPITAL

  • All birthing services to move to SCUH, while pre-natal and post-natal appointments to be available at both NGH and SCUH
  • Emergency department at NGH to remain open, along with dozens of services from cancer care to renal services, rehabilitation inpatient and outpatient services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
  • All patients who have an appointment at SCUH will be sent a letter with details.

The following services will remain at Nambour General Hospital:

  • Emergency Department
  • Renal Services - Chronic renal dialysis, outpatient service and Home Therapy Service
  • Acute and Restorative Care of the Elderly
  • Rehabilitation inpatient and outpatient services
  • General Medicine inpatient and outpatient services
  • Mental Health and Addiction Services - Adult inpatient and community services
  • Medical imaging (MRI, CT, ultrasound and X-ray)
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacy
  • Outpatient services
  • Day Infusion Service
  • Cancer services - day oncology chemotherapy service and outpatients
  • Musculoskeletal services
  • Allied Health outpatients services
  • Elective Surgery - inpatients and day surgery
  • Antenatal and postnatal outpatient services (outreach from SCUH)
  • Anaesthetics and pain management
  • Persistent pain management service
  • Gastroenterology day procedures and outpatient services
  • Oral Health
  • BreastScreen Queensland Sunshine Coast Service
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Community Integrated Subacute and Aged Care Services, including:

  • Hospital in the Home
  • Community Hospital Interface Program
  • Community Support Rehabilitation
  • Community Chronic Conditions
  • Sexual Health.

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