New Emergency Department praised by patients and staff


The Emergency Department (ED) in the new Wonthaggi Hospital has been welcomed by patients and staff after its first month of operation.

Everyone has appreciated the first purpose-built ED to be offered from Wonthaggi Hospital and opened by Bass Coast Health (BCH) in December last year.

Patient Dorothy Gordon of Cape Paterson was impressed by the extensive space the new ED offers.

“The ED in the old hospital was cramped and this new department is almost luxurious. I’ve been to a couple of hospitals in my time and this is a nice space,” she said.

Nurse Unit Manager Cat Bunn said she loved the “big beautiful space and the layout”.

“The purpose-built space has boosted staff morale. In this department staff can provide the care they strongly aspire to provide,” she said.

Nurse in Charge Kort Johnson said the new ED’s private rooms ensure patient privacy while allowing them to rest, which benefits their wellbeing.

“I used to work in the old ED and this is state-of-the-art. It has the room we need to keep the patient flow going, as well as everyone having an appropriate workspace,” he said.

Registered Nurse Tayla Robb added, “I like the practicality of the ED; the convenience and the accessibility. It’s neat, it’s tidy, it’s clean, it’s fresh. It’s a step in the right direction for the area.

“The ED in the older part of the hospital was outdated. This new ED suits the growing population. It has a metropolitan feel to it. All the technology is by the bedside with the patient.”

The new ED is also making an impression on Interns. BCH is hoping the new facility will help to attract new staff.

Dr Vikram Amara is one of the Monash Health Interns now undertaking a 10-week term in the ED as part of his medical training.

“It’s a nice new environment and there are enough places for the patients and the staff to work in a more cohesive space,” he said.

The new ED has passed the test posed by the demand of the hectic summer holiday period, when staff treated 972 patients from 24 December 2022 to 4 January 2023 – a 21.5 per cent increase on the same period for 2021-2022.

Fractures were the most common reason for presentation, followed by chest pain, abdominal pain, COVID-19 positive or probable, infections, wounds, sprains, limb and back pain, allergy and viral infection.

The ED treated patients from as far east as Wilsons Promontory, and west to Phillip Island and the northern Bass Coast Shire.

Members of the community are urged to be patient when presenting to the ED and know they will be seen as soon as possible.

Patients are triaged based on the severity of their condition and are not seen in order of presentation. Sicker patients requiring more urgent medical attention, such as those who may be experiencing a heart attack, are seen sooner than patients with minor wounds.

“While we appreciate that everyone is coming to us for prompt medical attention and would not be attending our health service if they could avoid it, we ask people to please be patient and kind to our staff, knowing there may be an extended wait,” Cat said.

The Emergency Department at Wonthaggi Hospital is located at 235 Graham Street, Wonthaggi.

In the event of a medical emergency, always phone 000 and request an ambulance.