Temporarily named EDX, (ED Extension) a prefabricated building has been installed at the front entrance to Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) giving the department better flexibility and ability to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and the approaching winter.
ED Consultant Dr Andrew Germann said the Police owned prefabricated building became available in March and with support of Hastings District Council, understanding the urgency, council approval and the transport of the building was able to happen within a week of finding it.
Dr Germann said with the onset of the pandemic it was quickly realised that new ways of managing people presenting to the department and keeping staff and other patients at all times safe was needed.
“While we haven’t had many people through the hospital with COVID-19, and those patients have been well managed, it only takes one patient with the virus or any other contagious disease like the flu and other people can be infected.
“Having this building will help prevent that from happening.
“We aren’t out of the woods with COVID-19 yet – and we won’t be until there is a cure or vaccine so another priority of the district health board’s is to make sure people feel safe to come to ED.”
Dr Germann said normally about 120 people a day presented to ED, and it was important that people who were very ill or who had had a bad accident came for treatment.
“We need to make sure people aren’t putting off coming because they don’t feel safe. This building should add another layer to keeping patients and staff safe and making people feel safe. In the past month we have seen numbers of presentations drop to below a 100 and we want to make sure people aren’t putting off seeking medical help because they are afraid to come to hospital”
Included in the building will be space to take off Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and another room to put it on. All patients will have individual cubicles so they can be examined with safe distancing between patients. There will also be room for a nurses’ station.
“The plan is for the use of this building to go live 28 April, as long as all the equipment we need, such as cubicle beds and curtaining, arrives on time.
“We are very grateful to the huge support we have had from our digital enablement, facilities, logistics and the infection prevention control teams at the DHB to help ED get this up and running in such a short time,” he said.