Health facilities on track for 2015 start

Work is continuing at a frantic pace in Midland St John of God Hospital.
Work is continuing at a frantic pace in Midland St John of God Hospital.

Hospitals chief executive Ian Anderson has praised the efficiency of Brookfield Multiplex builders, saying the building was 80 per cent completed with construction work forecast to wrap up in time for Christmas.

Representatives from 700 community interest groups have toured the modern layout of the hospitals, designed to provide 307 public beds and a private section with another 60 beds.

Plans allow for an extension at a later stage and for private beds to be moved to a separate SJOG hospital to be built in the vicinity, to increase public beds to 464.

About 80 per cent of the new beds are in single, ensuite rooms to minimise cross-infection, with the remainder divided between two and four-bed areas.

Central to the design of the 13-ward hospitals was the recognised need for patients and staff to be in naturally lit environments, with easy and close access to fresh air via landscaped courtyards on every level.

The decision to place the 56-bed mental health unit on the fourth floor rather than the ground floor is a first for SJOG in Western Australia.

‘We researched other hospitals based in the eastern states and found that incorporating the mental health unit into the main hospital building has many benefits.

‘Not only does it demonstrate that mental health is a mainstream service, it also helps reduce stigma for patients and their families,’ Mr Anderson said.

Gym facilities are another feature of the mental health unit, together with a separate area and 24-hour access to a protected courtyard for dementia patients.

The hospital also incorporates 10 large rooms with built-in, ceiling hoist tracks capable of bearing a load of up to 250kg.

Inpatient units include critical care, day procedure and a neonatal unit, and the vast emergency area has a separate room for quarantine purposes.

Patients’ meals will be made daily on site and there will be an alfresco caf´┐Ż near the main entrance.

An attractive and eco-smart feature of the main reception area is the transparent roof, allowing lighting and temperature control according to the time of day and amount of available light, eliminating the need for artificial light in daytime.

The ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene (ETFE) roof consists of six 15m-long, air-filled fabric cushions, suspended between lightweight steel ribs.

Each cushion has a patterned middle membrane that moves up or down to let in more or less light, with the help of a computerised air-control system to cope with the variation in light from morning to evening and from summer to winter.

The main entrance will be via Yelverton Drive/Centennial Place, with visitor parking to the left.

Parking for staff will be free, with 725 spaces available, while 221 visitor spaces will incur a fee and there will be another 50 visitor spaces near the emergency department.

Communications manager Fiona Clark said research had shown about 35 per cent of people currently receive hospital care locally and SJOG expects this figure to rise to 75 per cent once the new hospitals are open.

State and Commonwealth governments together have invested $360 million into the Midland hospitals project, with SJOG injecting $70 million.

A North Metro Health Service spokeswoman said Swan District Hospital would remain fully staffed and operational until the hospitals open in 2015.