A 42-year service closed its doors this morning then instantly re-opened a new era as Westmead Hospital’s Emergency Department relocated to its new high-tech home.
As the clock ticked 8am, sliding doors to the emergency department (ED) met for the last time and marked the next chapter for staff and almost two million patients since it first opened in 1979.
Three hundred metres away at the centre of Westmead Health Precinct, the new state-of-the-art unit in the Central Acute Services Building (CASB) simultaneously welcomed Western Sydney to healthcare’s future.
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) chief executive Graeme Loy said the relocation to the 14-level CASB was designed to offer an even better service for its communities.
“The new emergency department further improves patient care and safety, offers new treatment spaces and equipment, and provides patients and carers with easier access and drop-off,” Mr Loy said.
“Centrally located in the precinct, the relocation moves us one step closer to the full opening of the Central Acute Services Building.”
Westmead Hospital general manager Rebecca Tyson said the relocation marked an important piece of history in healthcare and was a credit to all staff.
“I’m very proud,” Rebecca said as doors closed on the old ED. “I feel comfortable today because of the years of planning and all the hard work that’s been done.
“There is certainly sadness for some staff because there are so many memories.
“But today is about celebrating – both their achievements in this space and the amazing new building and care it will provide for our communities across Western Sydney.”
And it didn’t take long before months of staff training, simulations and tests to gauge equipment and new spaces turned to reality when the first patient – 96-year-old George Nicholas from Bossley Park – was assisted through the doors by son Marcel.
“We couldn’t ask for better care,” George said. “It’s a great set-up here and I’m so excited to learn that I’m the first patient.”
In a series of milestone moments, 8.10am marked the first ambulance to arrive at the new ED and 11.15am signalled the last of the test choppers to land on the 14th-level helipad.
The community is advised patient drop-off for the new ED is via Hawkesbury Road, 400 metres north of the intersection with Darcy Road. Motorists should follow all signage and directions to the below-ground entrance in the CASB. If parking, please use the P5 carpark.
The centrepiece of the $1 billion-plus Westmead Redevelopment, the CASB will provide Western Sydney with high-quality healthcare, research and educational facilities for decades to come.
The new hospital will feature two new emergency departments – one for adults, one for children – more than 300 patient rooms, 25 digital operating theatres and a suite of other features.