MILESTONE: Staff at Hervey Bay Hospital celebrate the opening of the new emergency department.
MILESTONE: Staff at Hervey Bay Hospital celebrate the opening of the new emergency department.

New Hervey Bay emergency department opens

THE new Hervey Bay emergency department opened its doors to patients this morning, following a highly successful transition into the ground floor of the hospital's new $44.66 million building.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington said the opening of the new department signalled WBHHS's most significant infrastructure milestone since its inception in 2012.

"From 7am (last Thursday), our Hervey Bay emergency department team started their day shift in the new facility, following a successful handover with the overnight shift and the transition of patients from old ED to new from 5am onwards,” Mr Pennington said.

"From the outside, the transition and opening looked effortless, but that's only because it was meticulously planned.

"Today's successful opening was the culmination of many months of hard work by a multidisciplinary project team who ensured that everything had been thought of.

"The relocation has involved teams including emergency, medical imaging, pharmacy, pathology, building and engineering, IT, operational services, education, administration, supply services and our Queensland Ambulance Service partners - and all of them had an important role to play.

"So I'd like to thank everyone who ensured that our new ED got off to the best possible start.

"They've paved the way for a model of care that will change the face of emergency health services on the Fraser Coast, now and into the future.

"In particular I'd like to pay tribute to our incredible emergency team, who have delivered a consistently outstanding service to our patients despite working out of a department that had been unable to keep pace with demand.”

The new ED boasts 46 treatment spaces in total, including 37 emergency bays, three isolation rooms, a safe assessment room and five procedure rooms - more than doubling the former department's capacity.

It also incorporates contemporary design to better meet patient care needs, improve flow and efficiency, and provide an enhanced overall patient experience.

The first patient to come through the new ED's doors was Ray Ebert, 69, from Maryborough, who required treatment for an obstruction in his oesophagus that was preventing him from eating or drinking.

Ray Ebert was the first patient at the Hervey Bay Hospital Emergency Department on opening day.
Ray Ebert was the first patient at the new emergency department.

Mr Ebert, a Vietnam veteran and retired transport manager, has previously attended both Maryborough and Hervey Bay hospitals' emergency departments and described the new ED as "phenomenal”.

"My wife Margaret and I just couldn't get over it,” he said.

"Everything is so bright and new. We were greeted with smiles right from the very start, and the care we've received has just been excellent.

"A tremendous amount of money has been spent on this building and, from our point of view, we think it's been worth it.

"We feel very lucky to have access to a facility like this.”

Mr Ebert was one of 53 patients to present to the new ED between 7am and 2pm last Thursday.

"The presentations we've seen today are roughly on par with our average daily presentations, although we've experienced some significant surges between 10am and noon, and again around 2pm,” Mr Pennington said.

"But it's a good opportunity to remind our community to keep the emergency department for emergencies, and to consider whether you could be more appropriately seen by a general practitioner.”