Sunshine hospital

Major upgrades to Sunshine Hospital ED

Sunshine Hospital emergency department is one of Victoria’s busiest, treating around 65,000 patients a year, and has recently been expanded to help meet the needs of the fast-growing community. 

The Victorian Government invested $34.9 million into the project, which adds 65 treatment spaces, more than doubling current capacity. It allows Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department to be able to treat an extra 59,000 patients each year. 

The new emergency department includes nine additional dedicated treatment spaces for children, a medical imaging suite, a new paediatric triage and reception, fast-track bays and support areas. 

Sunshine Emergency Department Nurse Unit Manager Louise Cooke welcomed the redevelopment, “we are really proud of the new area we have been gifted,” including changes to paediatric care.  

They will be treated in a dedicated and calming space, purpose-built for families – with a capacity to treat around 19,700 children every year. 

“Sometimes emergency department waiting rooms can be a scary place … separating out paediatrics makes it a more pleasant journey,” she said. “Staff feel like they can offer a real service there to the paediatric cohort.” 

Refurbishment of the existing emergency department will also provide a new resus area and behavioural assessment unit. 

Ms Cooke said the behavioural assessment unit provides a “purpose-built space for highly acute mental health patients”. 

She said generally they must be cared for one-on-one in resus, often sharing the space with patients who have had heart attacks, stroke, trauma, etc.  

The new unit provides somewhere “we can put those people where it is a less stimulating environment and nicer place for them to be,” while also freeing up resus bays for other patients. 

While the expansion will help cater for the demand in the area, Ms Cooke said the challenge now is to source staff so that the new areas can be opened to full capacity. 

“With any new, larger space, you require staff. The uplift of staff has been a gradual process and will continue for the next 12 months,” she said. “We are gradually opening up more roles and bed numbers as we get the staff in.” 

She said the ideal nurse would be someone who has done a post-graduate in emergency nursing or has experience in emergency nursing, and who is prepared to work in a “very demanding” emergency department. 

“It has to be said, it is really busy, but there is a lot of variety here.” 

Sunshine Hospital is managed by Western Health, who also manage Footscray Hospital and Williamstown Hospital. 

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