Sutherland Hospital's new emergency department takes first patients

Sutherland Hospital’s new $62.9 million emergency department quietly opened its doors on Thursday.

The fanfare will come next week, on Friday, December 15, when the official opening by Health Minister Brad Hazzard is due to take place.

By then, hundreds of patients will have the chance to experience what the new unit offers.

It is situated at the front of the hospital, next to the main entrance, facing Kingsway.

The old emergency department has been closed and barricaded off, with signs pointing to the new unit.

​A large, red Emergency sign at the front of the new three-storey building was uncovered overnight.

Health officials said the unit was “operational”, but declined to make further comment or allow interior photos until the official opening.

The new unit has a much larger reception area than that in the old facility and an expanded waiting room, with much of the seating in bays of four facing chairs, which would seem to afford more privacy.

A feature is a special children’s emergency unit.

The building also includes an emergency short-stay unit, expanded high-dependency and intensive care unit, as well as new and additional general medical and surgical inpatient beds.

The project was announced for former Health Minister Jillian Skinner in January, 2015.

Work started a year later amid forecasts the project would be completed by the middle of this year.

Delays were attributed to several reasons, including the need to safely dispose of asbestos which was discovered during the demolition of old structures.