Gold Coast University Hospital in final fit-out phase
At a cost of $1.76 billion the Gold Coast University Hospital is nearing completion, due to open to the public in September this year. Currently, contractors and staff are involved in the final fit out of furniture, fittings, IT and medical equipment. Gold Coast Health Executive Director Strategic Development Mr Michael Allsopp talks to AHHB about this stage of the project and proudly boasts the hospital will have the highest level of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and connectivity of any hospital currently under construction or operating in Australia.
The Gold Coast University Hospital is one of the biggest projects to be undertaken in Queensland at a cost of $1.76 billion. What percentage of this budget has be directed to the hospital’s fit out?
The furniture, fittings and equipment (FFE) budget for Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) is approximately $130 million. Sixty-five per cent of the equipment required to open GCUH in September has been purchased. This includes the purchase of major medical equipment, fixtures, furniture and equipment. New purchases for GCUH include major medical equipment such as MRI scanners and clinical equipment such as syringe drivers, ECG machines and surgical instruments for theatres.
Almost 90 per cent of the furniture, fittings and equipment installed at GCUH will be new. The remaining 10 per cent of FFE will be transferred from Gold Coast Hospital to GCUH alongside staff and patients. Any equipment currently in use at Gold Coast Hospital that is in good working order and appropriate for use in GCUH will be transferred to the new facility, with most items already identified and deemed clinically and physically appropriate for the new hospital by staff.
How is this budget broken down between IT, medical and furniture fit out? Can you provide an indication of volume?
The $130 million budget for FFE includes the purchase of major medical equipment, fixtures, furniture and equipment other than ‘group one’ items included as part of construction.
The information and communications technology (ICT) investment incorporated in the behind the wall infrastructure such as cabling was part of the Managing Contract and not separately costed. The investment in ICT in outside the wall including technology application transfer is also approximately $130 million.
The new facility will be comprised of seven main buildings, with a total floor space of around 170,000 square metres. Will all the buildings be fully fitted out for the September opening date or will there be a staggered fit out?
Most of the seven buildings that make up GCUH will be fitted out with appropriate furniture, fittings and equipment to allow staff to safely provide health services when the facility opens in late September.
A small number of areas will be fitted out as services expand in line with demand. This is also to ensure that the latest technology can be installed as the service grows or a new service opens.
All fixed equipment like shelving and pneumatic tube systems are in place and currently being tested.
Who has been in charge of the design of the hospital fit out and what was the brief they were given?
Design of the facility was undertaken by a joint venture of architectural firms including Hassell, PDT and Silver Thomas Hanley in consultation with Health Service professionals.
Over 54 ‘user’ groups incorporating up to 10 clinical staff and service providers provided their clinical and non-clinical expertise to design particular areas of the facility. Health Service staff have been involved in not only the design but also have provided valuable input into the purchasing of equipment and other elements of the internal fit-out including art.
Additionally, the opportunity of building a brand new facility has enabled a thoughtful design not only for patients, but also a modern workplace for staff.
The design vision for GCUH includes:
- Clear signage outside and inside the hospital to make it easy to find your way around;
- Minimising travel distances between departments and wards;
- Maximising the therapeutic benefits of a parklands setting;
- Improving the flow of patients through the facility;
- Building design that can easily adapt to future modifications and expansion;
- Promoting safe and vibrant public spaces with gardens, courtyards, walkways, bike paths and art work;
- Incorporating environmentally sustainable design principles to minimise the carbon footprint of the facility; and
- Connecting with the surrounding precinct by creating accessible and shared amenities.
“Over 54 user groups incorporating up to 10 clinical staff and service providers provided their clinical and non-clinical expertise to design particular areas of the facility.”
“A ‘super user’ model of training delivery has been designed and commenced, with over 60 super users identified from the existing Health Service team that will become experts in new equipment and new technologies and systems to be able to ‘on train’ Health Service staff.”
How much of the medical equipment being installed at the hospital is new, compared to what is being recommissioned from the current Gold Coast Hospital?
Major medical equipment installed at GCUH represents a significant expansion compared to the existing Gold Coast Hospital. There will be a maximum of 10 major, fixed pieces of medical equipment transferred to GCUH from the existing Gold Coast Hospital, and the remaining items have been purchased new. New pieces include Queensland’s first intra-operative MRI, two gamma cameras and a PET scanner to support a stronger focus on nuclear medicine and two linear accelerators to provide radiation therapy treatment to public patients for the first time on the Gold Coast.
New medical equipment is not only beneficial to the public, but also to the professional development of staff and students. What equipment will those staff and students have access to that is unique?
There will be two new major pieces of medical equipment that will benefit both staff in terms of learning and the community that we serve. Two new linear accelerators at a cost of $6M combined are currently being installed and calibrated to enable the delivery of a new cancer radiotherapy service at GCUH. As a new public service on the Gold Coast, it will not only allow staff to learn new skills, but limit the need for patients to travel as far as Brisbane for the treatment.
The second major piece of new equipment is an intra-operative MRI scanner which will strengthen Gold Coast neurology and neurosurgery services and provide patients with better clinical outcomes through providing close to real time accuracy when it is needed most. This will be the first intra-operative MRI in Queensland, and one of just a handful in Australia.
Additionally, the introduction of simulation laboratories will allow staff to undertake mock scenario training, improving clinical practice and skill development. Integrated operating theatres which allow real-time video conferencing in the surgical field will also assist learning and teaching opportunities.
This hospital is also being built with state of the art IT equipment. What is new and how do you project manage the training of staff so that they are proficient in its use before the hospital begins operating?
The Gold Coast University Hospital project includes the highest level of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and connectivity of any hospital currently under construction or operating in Australia. The sheer scale and scope of the GCUH means that the ICT required to run the hospital is also greater in scale and complexity compared with most projects.
There are certainly challenges of installing the highest level of ICT infrastructure and connectivity of any hospital under construction or operating in Australia, particularly when planning for the hospital took place well prior to iPad and iPhone technology being introduced to the market as an example.
The GCUH ICT program will add to the existing foundation of telecommunications infrastructure, computer systems and software and ensure connectivity to biomedical equipment and external partners like Universities. New capabilities will also be provided, including systems to support new services like radiation oncology, expanded medical imaging, food services, neonatal intensive care and others.
There are approximately 4500 staff, volunteers, students and contractors that need to be trained prior to the opening of the new facility. A ‘super user’ model of training delivery has been designed and commenced, with over 60 super users identified from the existing Health Service team that will become experts in new equipment and new technologies and systems to be able to ‘on train’ Health Service staff. This training model will also provide a great support network to staff after the move.
An online training tool has been developed specifically to aid the delivery of the training to all staff and complement other face to face training and on-site inductions.
Filling and storage, loose furniture and workstations are all as vitally important to the successful running of the hospital as medical and IT equipment. How has this component of the fit out been planned and managed?
The planning and management of loose furniture, filing options, storage and workstations was managed as part of the overall design of the facility. The design of office spaces within GCUH is contemporary; open plan office areas have been fitted allowing natural light into work areas.
Departments and areas from the Health Service worked closely with interior designers and the architects to design storage solutions and other areas appropriate to their individual needs within their departments. The GCUH project team consulted heavily with each service or area to ensure their needs for free-standing furniture were met, adhering to infection control guidelines and colour palettes when choosing the furniture.
The purchase of all loose furniture, filing, storage and workstations has been managed through a Best and Final Offer Process (BAFO). All suppliers approved on the Queensland Government Chief Procurement Office (QGCPO) Standing Offer Arrangement for Office Furniture, (Part B Project Fit out) were invited to respond. 5 of the 13 suppliers were selected to supply and install the loose furniture, filing, storage and workstations throughout GCUH.
How much of the equipment being installed in the fit out is sourced from within Australia?
All the equipment purchased for GCUH has been sourced from within Australia, from either distributors or direct from manufacturers. The focus has been to ensure that competitive local suppliers are given the opportunity to supply to the project in line with mandated policy documents.
When it comes to the ongoing maintenance of the hospital, how often is the fit out reviewed?
There is a planned facility and equipment maintenance program within the new Hospital that has varying timeframes for review depending on the manufacturer’s specifications and utilisation.
Mr Michael Allsopp
Strategic Development, Gold Coast Health
Michael Allsopp commenced with Queensland Health in 1992 and has more than 30 years’ experience in health administration and capital works, in both New South Wales and Queensland. His qualifications include Bachelor of Business, Master of Business Administration and Fellowship of the Australian College of Health Service Managers.
As well as focussing on the development of the new 750 bed Gold Coast University Hospital, Michael is also working on the Robina Hospital expansion and the establishment of the Robina Health precinct. His role also has responsibility for facilitating the transformation of services and workforce development to enable the commissioning of these facilities for maximum community benefit.
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