Gastro facility open day

June Stephens (89) is shown around Dunedin Hospital’s new $3.2million gastroenterology department...
June Stephens (89) is shown around Dunedin Hospital’s new $3.2million gastroenterology department by charge nurse Karen Kempin (left) and registered nurse Ngaire McCorkindale during a public open day on Saturday. Photos: Gregor Richardson
It is elegantly open-plan, full of natural light and boasts city and harbour views to die for.

But forget penthouse apartment or high-end hotel, and instead say hello to the future of Dunedin Hospital.

Hospital staff were on Saturday proudly showing off the ageing hospital’s newest feature — the recently opened $3.2million gastroenterology department, located on the eighth floor of the hospital.

And as a steady stream of curious onlookers took advantage of the public open day, charge nurse Karen Kempin told the Otago Daily Times they were catching a glimpse of the future.

Instead of the hospital’s old, ailing and unsightly gastroenterology ward, patients in need of a colonoscopy or gastroscopy — and then a bit of a lie-down — could now do so in the comfort of modern, attractive surroundings, she said.

A state-of-the-art endoscope reprocessor —  the first of its kind in New Zealand — is in use in...
A state-of-the-art endoscope reprocessor — the first of its kind in New Zealand — is in use in Dunedin Hospital’s new gastroenterology department.
And it was the kind of service patients could expect more of when Dunedin’s new hospital rose from the ground over time, she said.

"This is what a hospital should look like. Lots of natural light and space, instead of everything crammed in together," Mrs Kempin said.

The new ward so far boasted two up-and-running procedure rooms, and space for a third, as well as a 10-bed recovery ward.

It also had room for teaching spaces, administration and staff facilities, as well as a state-of-the-art endoscope reprocessor — the first of its kind in New Zealand — for cleaning equipment.

The new ward opened last month and was already seeing up to 26 patients a day, although with capacity for 35 or more, she said.

One of two up-and-running procedure rooms in the gastroenterology department, which has space for...
One of two up-and-running procedure rooms in the gastroenterology department, which has space for a third and also boasts a 10-bed recovery ward, teaching spaces and administration and staff facilities.
Those visiting on Saturday included people taking part in the national bowel screening programme, as well as those who had been "watching our journey" and wanted "to see where we have ended up", she said.

Among them was June Stephens (89), of Dunedin, who was enjoying a biscuit and a look around when the ODT called in.

She said she was coming back tomorrow as a patient, but wanted to get a sneak peak first.

She was impressed by the facilities and the views, but hedged her bets slightly about the rest.

"Ask me afterwards if I have changed my mind," she said laughing.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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