How To Build A Hospital

In Western Sydney, healthcare needs are evolving as our population grows and ages and people live longer. We’re transforming the way we deliver healthcare, and the role that hospitals play in our community to embrace emerging technologies and changing community expectations. Here at Westmead, we are part of the most exciting redevelopment of a health precinct in Australia. There’s a lot happening and we want to share with you all the work that goes into building the first part of our Redevelopment – a new hospital building. How do you build a hospital? First comes the planning. Then comes the building. The planning can take several years, as there’s a lot to consider. We care about our patients and the community and we have to ask ourselves some big questions. How can we help people to be healthy over the next 50 years? How can we better integrate our world-class research and education? How can we design and building infrastructure for the future? What does world-class clinical care look like for the next generation? To answer these questions we have to know what our health needs are now and how they will change in the future. We have to look at new ways of working. We have to develop the right models of care for our
patients. To do all of this we speak to our staff, patients, carers and our community. This is all done through project user groups called PUGs. PUGs work closely with patients, carers and architects. They take all the questions that we asked ourselves and the answers to design the new hospital building. PUGs are used at every stage of the hospital development. Find out who your PUG representative is and how to get involved. We really want to hear from you. So what does a PUG work on first? They develop a Functional Brief. The Functional Brief tells the planners how you work, how you deliver healthcare and how your department works with other areas of the hospital. This phase also sees us work out how other important services interact with clinical service delivery, like education and
research. A big focus is on innovation and finding a better way to do things. The next phase is Concept Design and this is where it gets really exciting. We get to start looking at drawings and pictures of the building, its size and location. From there we look at flow – how the patients and services, as well as staff, will move throughout the building and even how information travels between departments and across the precinct as a whole. But we go even further and look at how the precinct is going to interact with the transportation networks of the city and the surrounding areas. We have to test this again and again to get it right, even going back to the Functional Briefs and the Concept Design to make sure we’re holding true. That’s when we move to Schematic Design. It includes detailed architectural plans and layout for each floor, and it is at that time we have to do the budget planning to make sure that we stay on budget and meet our priorities. Then are ready for Detailed Design. This literally gives us the nuts and bolts of the new building – right down to the power points and the furniture. This is the plan the builder uses to create our new building. While the design is finalised by the Local Health District and the project team, through the tender and construction process, we must focus on transitioning into the new building. . You will often hear this referred to as Commissioning. There is Building Commissioning, where the project team ensure things like electricity, IT and air-conditioning are working. We must focus on Operational Commissioning. Our tools of the trade may have moved, departments that we may connect with may be further away or closer, and new technologies may be in our workplace. We must adapt to new ways of working and we must do that now. And that’s how you building a hospital. The planning alone can take over a year. We use the time between now and the opening of the new to introduce new models of care, to test new processes and procedures, to get used to doing things differently before we make the move, and to work out how we stay connected with with teams and services in the existing buildings. You’ll be hearing plenty from the project team because it’s a long and important journey that we are on. You see we’re not just building a hospital, we’re building new services, new networks of care and better ways of doing things. We’re building health and we’re transforming lives.

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