So what is an IPU? An intervention zone? Or an ambulatory centre?
They are all things marked on the Shoalhaven District Hospital long term zonal master plan released recently.
They all look impressive on the sketched master plan but what exactly are they?
What do they do? What do they stand for?
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District has provided an explanation as to what some of the titles are and what the areas do.
IPU - Inpatient unit - normal ward area space such as medical, surgical wards etc.
Ed - The obvious one - the emergency department.
Intervention - Contains the operating theatre suite.
Rehab - The rehabilitation wards such as are operated now and other services.
Healthcare or complementary functions - Areas where buildings currently are but land that might be reclaimed for some other use. The area (buildings) could be used by other health providers or used to provide additional health services. It could even just be held and used for any possible future expansion needs. On the master plan this includes areas such as the main entrance, emergency department and ward areas, which have on paper have been relocated.
Ambulatory centre - Outpatients clinics for things like renal dialysis. Services where patients are in and out and don’t need hospital stays.
Community care expansion - Is a possible long-term plan of providing a health centre to locate other services, which are now spread throughout the town, to be all in the one location, within the hospital precinct.
Staff accommodation - As the name suggests - staff accommodation. While there are no definite plans to build staff quarters, planners are looking at every possible future need, deciding it was better to show such a complex now and therefore not be hamstrung if the need should ever arise. The accommodation could be used for staff who are on rotation or doctors, who might live outside the area but have to remain within a certain distance of the hospital while on call.
Of course while nothing is in concrete, and there is further detailed planning to be undertaken, the plan has revealed a possible blueprint for the site into the future up to 2027, taking into account the types of services the community might need into the future.
While the master plan does not indicate building heights it is understood buildings could be up to three or four stories, depending on local planning regulations.
The 2018-19 state budget included $15 million to progress planning for a number of projects including the Shoalhaven District Hospital upgrade.
That funding will support the detailed planning required to consider the future requirements for the Shoalhaven community and what investment may be required at Shoalhaven Hospital.
Both Kiama and South Coast MPs Gareth Ward and Shelley Hancock have strongly endorsed a major upgrade of the Shoalhaven District Hospital, mooted to cost between $300 and $400 million.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District executive director planning, Caroline Langston said districts may undertake master planning exercises from time to time to identify how development could occur in the future, for a particular hospital site/campus.
“This process does not commit to a future redevelopment of the hospital, but informs future planning,” she said.
“Capital investments are identified through district service and asset planning and considered as part of usual government and budget processes.”