BETTER SERVICE: St Vincent’s Private Hospital recovery nurse Eva Dymock in front of one of the new operating theatres that will allow more patients to stay here for complex surgery instead of heading to the major cities.
BETTER SERVICE: St Vincent’s Private Hospital recovery nurse Eva Dymock in front of one of the new operating theatres that will allow more patients to stay here for complex surgery instead of heading to the major cities. Marc Stapelberg

Hospital upgrade means patients can stay here

HOSPITAL patients undergoing complex procedures will now be able to stay in the Northern Rivers thanks to an $8 million upgrade in surgical facilities at St Vincent's Hospital in Lismore.

The upgrades include a refurbishment of three existing theatres, construction of two new theatres, a new eight-bed recovery room and a new staffroom.

St Vincent's chairman Frank Hannigan said the upgrades would mean an additional 60-100 procedures a week could now be carried out here instead of transporting patients to city hospitals.

"It's wonderful for the families and patients to be able to stay here, closer to home, their comfort zone, and not to have to go and stay in large motels," he said.

The funding is a combination of $2.5 million from the Federal Government and $5.5 from St Vincent's Hospital.

The redevelopment of the Short Stay Unit, the relocation and upgrade of the Endoscopy Unit and the refurbishment of the lift are also part of the funding.

St Vincent's Hospital CEO Steve Brierley said the upgrades would make it possible for specialists such as cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons to collaborate, resulting in more streamlined co-ordinated care.

"In our new hybrid theatre we can do more intricate and complex procedures, and with the combination of the interventional and imaging equipment, there is faster patient recovery," he said.

Waiting times will also be reduced as patients have access to their surgery sooner thanks to the additional theatres available to specialists.

The hybrid theatres mean the imaging and surgery will take place in the same room, removing the need for patients to be transported from the operating room to radiology and back to theatre, which will also help to reduce treatment times.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the upgrades would help to take pressure off hospitals such as Lismore Base Hospital.

The newly built and refurbished theatres were officially opened and blessed by the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett yesterday morning.



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