Finding a solution and implementing it in as short a time as possible – and during an ongoing pandemic – created a major challenge for Jo Lougheed, Director of Infrastructure Planning and Capital Projects at Metro North Hospital and Health Service, and her team.

The dual-procedure theatre facility that is now in place at Prince Charles hospital is provided by Q-bital and includes a fully-equipped modular decontamination suite and a mobile eight-bed recovery ward, and would usually take many months to build. However, the unique solution was created from scratch in just a few months using a combination of modular and mobile facilities, without compromising on quality and bespoke to the hospital’s needs.

Jo explains: “My colleague had come across Q-bital and learned about what they do; create mobile and modular solutions to help hospitals add capacity in a shorter time-frame than building new infrastructure. She felt they could help us meet our endoscopy challenge.

“We needed additional endoscopy capacity, and we wanted it quickly. When I began working on the project, the hospital had already ordered a dual-procedure endoscopy theatre, bespoke-built modular decontamination suite and a modified mobile ward from Q-bital to help us meet our capacity challenges.

“Working with Peter Spryszynski at Q-bital, we made these solutions work for the hospital and the environment it sits within. We knew we needed to integrate these separate solutions into one facility as well as with the existing endoscopy service within the hospital and to do so as seamlessly as possible. And there was lots to consider.

“We wanted them connected to our existing endoscopy services so we wouldn’t be running two independent services. However, the ground where the units needed to go was uneven. We had to work out how we were going to cantilever them and make it a smooth journey for patients and staff to move around the facility safely. What were our options? The solution we created was to develop a series of platforms with a covered walkway and it all went incredibly smoothly.

“As a hospital we hadn’t developed anything like this before. Because this was the first project of this kind we’d undertaken, we didn’t know exactly what we needed – but even when we asked for things at the 11th hour, like a second scope washer and processor – Peter made it happen. We worked through the challenges together.

“The Q-bital team worked really carefully and methodically with us to make sure everything was as we wanted and needed it to be. We looked carefully at how we could tweak the environment to meet our model of care and make sure our clinicians were happy with their working environment.

“It’s easy to think that units like this can just be plonked into place, everything switched on and off you go. It’s a bit more complicated than that! But Q-bital really made the process painless and everyone is really happy with the result – it’s light and bright and the quality of the clinical environment is very high. Their team took our ideas and made them deliverable.”

Ann Vandeleur, Project Nurse Manager at the hospital, says the unit will have a substantial impact on the number of patients treated.

“It will make a real impact on the number of people now able to have endoscopy procedures. On a monthly basis, we are looking at 450-500 colonoscopy procedures a month. That’s working across the two rooms, five days a week, seeing around 24 or 25 patients per day. It will make a real difference.

“The Q-bital solution works well. It was really important to have it placed where it is for patient, and clinical, safety. It also allows us to be really efficient and effective having staff and equipment right next door to each other. It means we can, for example, use the same admission process.

“It’s also important that it meets all of the latest standards for decontamination of reusable instruments. While the unit is of course smaller, it is amazing what has been achieved in the space. It has been carefully designed to achieve everything we want and need it to, and at the standards we need.

“Everything happened very quickly and that was the real positive and benefit for us; that we could have the building and the equipment so quickly. People couldn’t believe what was being created, and so quickly. If you built from scratch it could take three or four years. Not only has it been delivered in a fraction of that time, it’s been delivered to the quality and standard we and our patients need and expect.”

For an overview tour of the facility click here