Operating theatres at Shoalhaven Hospital to close over Easter to allow upgrade of airconditioning

TWO operating theatres at Shoalhaven District Hospital will be closed over the Easter period to allow for a major upgrade of the troublesome airconditioning unit.

Two of the four theatres will be closed for 12 days over the Easter holidays from Wednesday, April 16 to allow for the $430,000 upgrade.

Hospital general manager Joel George said patient care would not be affected and no surgeries have been cancelled.

“This will have no impact on emergency surgery and theatre time has also been set aside for urgent elective procedures during the period,” Mr George said.

“The hospital has been diligent in ensuring there is no impact on patient care.”

The upgrade, set to benefit both patients and staff, will finalise a program of remediation work and preparation for the replacement of the system which regulates temperature in the hospital’s operating theatres.  

“It’s no secret that we’ve faced challenges in the past with the airconditioning system servicing this area and I am delighted the internal upgrade and replacement is almost complete,” Mr George said.

While the Shoalhaven area does have increased numbers over the holiday period, the hospital said surgery numbers were generally down, with a number of doctors also electing to take holidays with their families.

Problems with airconditioning in the theatres first arose on January 2013 when one of the units failed during hot weather when temperatures rose into the 40s, putting certain parts of the storage area for theatres outside Australian standards.

As a result a number of medications and some equipment had to be destroyed.

South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and Kiama MP Gareth Ward have campaigned to have the air-conditioning unit upgraded.

“The works have been extensive and complex,” Mrs Hancock said.

“It has been a difficult exercise. There have been a number of complex issues, combining parts of the ageing system with the new, but they are all set to be fixed in the upgrade.

“But to undertake the work two of the theatres have to be closed.

“Hospital management has seen the Easter period as the best time to undertake the work to minimise the impact for patients.

“This is a significant investment to enhance airconditioning at Shoalhaven Hospital and we’re now at the final hurdle.”

Mrs Hancock thanked hospital staff for their patience over the past months and praised them for their commitment to caring for patients in what have been challenging conditions. 

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