NSW Labor Leader, Michael Daley, has committed $1 billion for a Nepean Hospital upgrade with an “emergency department of the future”, which will be designed and cater for the unique needs of the elderly and children.
A Daley Labor Government will trial world-leading geriatric and paediatric emergency care at Nepean Hospital, based on a highly successful New York State model, while delivering stages 1 and 2 of the redevelopment, to be completed alongside community-based health facilities and a multi-storey car park.
Labor will deliver the full $1 billion hospital redevelopment at Nepean Hospital and we will build it with an emergency department of the future
The geriatric emergency department will be based on the world-leading geriatric emergency department which has operated at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York since 2012. It will be designed to reduce anxiety and disorientation of dementia patients by minimising noise and confusion which can be common-place in busy emergency departments.
Children and their families will be kept separate from other emergency department patients in a dedicated paediatric room.
The paediatric emergency room will be decorated and furnished for children and will include play equipment and entertainment facilities. It will include specialist staff and equipment suitable for treating children and young people.
Staff at the geriatric emergency department will be trained to identify and care for patients over 65 years old who are at risk of delirium, display functional and cognitive decline or have fallen.
The features of the new emergency department may include:
- Decreased ambient noise and the use of sound absorbing materials
- Modified lighting, including a “skylight” to simulate sunlight during the day to minimise disorientation
- Dim lighting at night to promote sleep
- Fall reduction measures such as non-slip flooring and handrails
- Large clocks, large signage and large print on documents
- Thicker mattresses
- The use of electronic devices such an iPad (if appropriate) attached to each bed which allows patients to communicate with nurses by touching images
- Calming music
- Specific protocols for discharge, including follow-up procedures to reduce unscheduled return visits
Mr Daley said it’s important to look at new and innovative ways to provide world-class healthcare in NSW.
We need to provide a safe space for sick children and that is why it is so important to create a dedicated space for kids awaiting treatment
Stage 1 of the Nepean Hospital redevelopment will include:
- An emergency department of the future;
- A specialist geriatric emergency department
- A specialist paediatric emergency room and specialist care
- More than 12 new operating theatres
- 18 birthing suites
- A new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
- A doubling of chemotherapy chairs to 30
- Expanded cancer services
- More than 200 overnight beds in new accommodation
- A $26 million multi-storey car park with 500 car spaces
- A new helipad
- New community health services
Mr Daley was joined by Shadow Minister for Health, Walt Secord, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, Prue Car and Labor’s candidate for Penrith, Karen McKeown for the announcement at Nepean Hospital today.
Labor will ensure Nepean Hospital is at the cutting edge of patient care because patients in Western Sydney deserve the best care possible
It comes on top of Labor’s commitment for additional security staff at the Nepean Hospital emergency department.
Over the last eight years, Nepean Hospital has, at times, been one of the most under pressure hospitals in NSW, with some of the longest waits in the emergency department and for elective surgery.
In November 2016, senior clinicians at Nepean Hospital spoke out over the state of the hospital and the need to undertake upgrades, citing patient safety.
Nepean Hospital data (from the independent Bureau of Health Information):
- It is one of the busiest emergency departments in the State, seeing more than 70,000 patients a year
- Currently, 48.5 per cent of patients wait longer than four hours in the emergency department
- As of 31 September 2018, there were 2,334 patients waiting for non-urgent elective surgery at Nepean Hospital. This includes 669 patients for ear, nose and throat surgery; 316 for tonsils; 316 for knee replacements; and 103 for hip replacements
- Ten per cent of patients wait longer than a year for non-urgent elective surgery
- Surgery waits include a median wait of 308 days for non-urgent surgery and 335 days for knee replacement; 320 days for tonsils; 314 days for ear, nose and throat and 260 days for hip replacement
*Note: cataract surgery does not occur at Nepean
The announcement comes on top of Labor’s commitment to introduce nurse to patient ratios across NSW.