Bringing world-class healthcare to Western Australia
Business World Australia sat down for a question and answer session with the Executive Director of Fiona Stanley Hospital, Mr Brad Sebbes. Fiona Stanley Hospital is in construction in Murdoch and is expected to be open in 2014. The hospital represents a new standard of care for Western Australia and the community of the South Metropolitan area. The managing contractor on the project is Brookfield Multiplex FSH Contractor Pty Ltd, and the architect is Fiona Stanley Hospital Design Collaboration (FSHDC).
The latter team is made up of three of the most prestigious architectural firms in Western Australia; HASSELL, Hames Sharley and Silver Thomas Hanley. Their design will help to make Fiona Stanley Hospital one of the most cutting edge hospitals when it is completed; while at the same time incorporating design ideas to aid the recovery of patients at the facility. FSHDC was fastidious in making sure the final project would be as future proof and energy efficient as possible, making upgrades to it for the foreseeable future either unnecessary or relatively easy. Mr Sebbes speaks directly to this point later in the interview.
The community, local government, and the directorship at the hospital, already sees great potential in the hospital, and many cannot wait until the ribbon is cut to begin to benefit from its operation.
Business World Australia: One of the questions that we always ask is where people get the names of their projects, so why was Fiona Stanley chosen as the hospital’s name?
Mr Brad Sebbes: Fiona Stanley Hospital is named after Professor Fiona Stanley, an eminent Western Australian clinician who was named Australian of the Year in 2003. Professor Stanley has dedicated her life to researching the causes of major childhood illnesses and birth defects, so they can be prevented. Professor Stanley’s name was put forward by members of the public in a competition run by the Health Department to name the hospital.
She was deemed the ideal namesake – with over 300 published papers in scientific journals. She is the founding Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Chair of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, the UNICEF Australia Ambassador for Early Childhood Development, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council.
BWA: Why was the location selected, I can see that there are already medical services available in the area is this going to align with those services?
Mr Sebbes: When it opens in 2014, Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch will be the major tertiary hospital in Western Australia, offering health care services to communities south of Perth and across the State.
The site was chosen for its proximity to a growing south metropolitan population and to nearby health and learning institutes. It is located adjacent to a major private hospital, St John of God Hospital, maximising the synergies between the private and public health systems and allowing the potential sharing of health facilities and services; and is also located near existing education infrastructure including Murdoch University and Challenger Institute of Technology, which will help to facilitate potential education and training partnerships.
The location offers outstanding access – it will be within walking distance of the Murdoch bus and rail interchange and easily reached via the Kwinana Freeway and other major roads to the north and south of Perth city. Fiona Stanley Hospital will certainly be the catalyst for local and regional growth and development, and will be the nucleus of a broader education, health and activity precinct commonly referred to as the Murdoch Activity Centre (MAC).
The hospital is also just 12km from Jandakot Airport. A helipad will be located on the roof of the hospital, enabling patients to be transferred quickly to Fiona Stanley Hospital from the Royal Flying Doctor Service – who service people in remote areas.
BWA: When did the project begin, and when is the estimated completion date? What is the total cost of the project?
Mr Sebbes: Planning of Fiona Stanley Hospital began in 2005. Construction of the hospital began in September 2009 and it is expected to be finished in late 2013, ahead of the hospital’s opening in 2014. The $255.7 million Federal Government-funded State rehabilitation service has been incorporated into the scope of Fiona Stanley Hospital, increasing the total value of the project from $1.76 billion to $2.02 billion.
BWA: What was the selection process for the contractors, suppliers and the project manager?
Mr Sebbes: Selection of all contractors and suppliers to the project has been through a Government-led open tender process, with successful applicants chosen for the skill and experience they can bring to the project.
BWA: What will the final product be able to boast in the terms of services, beds, and research facilities?
Mr Sebbes: When it opens in 2014, the 783-bed Fiona Stanley Hospital will be home to a major trauma centre, a State rehabilitation service and the State burns service.
It will offer:
- comprehensive cancer services including radiation oncology, medical oncology, haematology including bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, palliative care, a dedicated breast screening service and a related surgery services for a range of cancers
- paediatric, radiology; renal transplant and dialysis; obstetric and neonatology services
- a mental health unit with a secure wing and a mother and baby unit
- child and adolescent services
- a full range of acute medical and surgical services
- clinical services including coronary care, day admissions and endoscopy, hyperbaric medicine, intensive care, an operating suite and sleep studies
- state-of-the-art emergency care, supporting the major trauma centre
- cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, plastics and general surgery
- facilities for pathology, bio-medical engineering and cell tissue manufacturing
- a modern medical imaging centre, providing fast and accurate information to clinicians
- a world-class medical research facility to be built in conjunction with universities and the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR)
BWA: In the terms of the educational aspect of the project, what special theatres, and access will the hospital have?
Mr Sebbes: Fiona Stanley Hospital includes a dedicated education facility which will offer a comprehensive range of training programs to students and staff across all health disciplines. The four-floor building will be located next to the main hospital and linked via a walkway.
It will include: a major, tiered lecture theatre; two small, tiered lecture theatres; seminar and meeting rooms with audiovisual and teleconferencing capability; a clinical skills training centre including a demonstration ward, a medical emergency training/simulation centre and six clinical skills training rooms; a management of aggression training room; a clinical resource and information centre; a computer learning centre; and undergraduate and postgraduate medical, nursing and health therapies education.
The clinical skills and simulation centre will enable health staff across all disciplines to learn and develop skills in a range of techniques including emergency care, advanced life support and communication and behavioural skills.
BWA: With application of connectivity technology like telehealth, how can you better service the community?
Mr. Sebbes: Staff at Fiona Stanley Hospital will be able to access state-of-the-art telehealth facilities which can be used for teaching and research as well as providing information and advice to patients who are not at the hospital, but are in rural and remote areas.
New telehealth equipment and additional staff in district health service centres will provide better and timely emergency care between small hospitals, nursing posts, district and regional health services and metropolitan emergency specialists. This helps improve access to emergency health care and reduce patient isolation in rural and remote areas.
Because Fiona Stanley Hospital is a new hospital, services like telehealth will benefit from new building designs that are compatible with the requirements of modern technology and working practices, enabling delivery of tangible innovations, with new technology at the forefront of service solutions.
BWA: WAIMR has been a leader in adult medical research, how will the new facility work with them?
Mr Sebbes: Fiona Stanley Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to being a high quality centre for research by dedicating $25m to the construction of the Western Australia Institute of Medical Research – WAIMR – which is being built alongside it. The new WAIMR facility will house researchers who will investigate the genetic and environmental causes of a range of diseases. WAIMR is WA’s premier adult medical research institute and since its foundation in 1998, its researchers have identified numerous genes associated with diseases including leukaemia, diabetes, cancer and nerve, muscle and mental health disorders. Locating the new WAIMR facility next to Fiona Stanley Hospital aims to speed up the time it takes for patients to benefit from medical breakthroughs by breaking down traditional barriers and fostering closer working relationships between laboratory researchers and frontline clinical staff.
Fiona Stanley Hospital will be in the heart of a new health, research and education precinct at Murdoch that includes, in addition to WAIMR, St John of God Hospital Murdoch, Murdoch University, and the Challenger Institute of Technology Murdoch. The precinct is modelled on international best practice and aims to foster greater collaboration and potential partnerships for the benefit of patients and staff.
BWA: How are you addressing staffing issues, what staff capacity are you looking at and in what roles?
Mr Sebbes: The Department of Health will be doing everything it can to retain existing staff and attract new staff across its facilities. A Workforce Plan designed to help retain and attract some of the finest clinical and non-clinical staff to WA Health is now under development. The Department is encouraging those interested in working at Fiona Stanley Hospital to consider seeking employment in tertiary care services at Royal Perth Hospital or Fremantle Hospital, from where some services will be transferring to the new hospital.
BWA: How has the project been received locally?
Mr Sebbes: The project has been very well received by the local community that recognises the economic and social benefits it will bring to the area. Apart from direct job opportunities, indirect jobs are expected to grow through service providers (cafes, local suppliers etc). Fiona Stanley Hospital will be part of a vibrant community that will be well serviced by public transport, retail outlets, cafes and other recreational facilities in the Murdoch area.
BWA: How will the hospital function within this community and the surrounding communities, and will it be a primary care facility?
Mr Sebbes: Fiona Stanley Hospital will offer comprehensive healthcare services to communities in the south of Perth and across Western Australia. It will be a major adult trauma centre and will replace Fremantle Hospital as the 24-hour emergency care provider servicing Perth’s southern suburbs and regional Western Australia. Emergency will have 70 beds and treatment areas and will include a dedicated drop-off area for patients, paediatric and adult short-stay zones and trauma, resuscitation and treatment areas.
A range of health therapy services will also be available at Fiona Stanley Hospital including clinical psychology, dietetics and physiotherapy as part of the treatment process.
BWA: The role of technology is always an interesting topic, are there any innovative processes and systems that the hospital will be instituting in order to stay on the cutting edge? Have you future proofed the design of the building so that it is ready for new innovations?
Mr Sebbes: Fiona Stanley Hospital will be a state-of-the-art facility, setting new benchmarks in information and communications technology (ICT). Technology will be integrated into every level of the hospital and include improved access to medical records and access to all medical library services such as online databases and medical journals. Fiona Stanley Hospital will rank among the best in Australia – a leader in clinical care, research and education, supported by an innovative design that harnesses the latest scientific, technological and medical developments.
The final design of Fiona Stanley Hospital reflects the Government’s determination to create a hospital environment to assist patients to get well while their surroundings operate in an ecologically sustainable way. The architects and planners of Fiona Stanley Hospital used design techniques and elements – such as lighting, colour, texture, views, natural light and art – that have been shown to have a healing and therapeutic effect on patients, staff, visitors and families.
The result is a light-filled design in which every patient room and the main concourse area have a view to the outside world, making it a more welcoming environment for patients, visitors and staff. Some 83 per cent of the patient rooms will be single rooms, which will allow for improved infection control, fewer patient transfers and improved privacy and confidentiality. The landscape design includes a wide range of outdoor gardens and parks for all to use.
The design has incorporated air control systems that promote the use of fresh air to improve the indoor air quality. Heat recovery ventilation will be used to pre-heat or pre-cool incoming air and reduce the reliance on air conditioning systems. The passive solar design of the hospital will use the sun and natural light to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures and reduce the use of heating and cooling systems.
Bathrooms and other wet areas will feature low-flow fixtures to minimise water consumption and rainwater will be collected for reuse in irrigation.
The Fiona Stanley Hospital Project has also made a large conservation and environment commitment. Some $5 million in environmental on-site and off-site initiatives will be undertaken throughout the project’s development. These include landscaping, fauna relocation, seed collection, weed control, grass tree relocation, rehabilitation in Beeliar Regional Park and preservation of conservation areas.
BWA: In closing, where do you see the hospital and its reputation in 5 years time??
Mr Sebbes: The first patients will be received in mid 2014. Our goal is to operate one of Australia’s, and indeed the world’s, most advanced medical facilities which achieves its goals across patient care, research and the advancement of medicine and patient care, as well as social and environmental responsibility.