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Enhanced pathology services to meet the hospital’s growing needs
Work on Nepean Hospital’s new, expanded NSW Health Pathology lab has started.
The new lab will provide enhanced services to meet the growing needs of the new hospital, which will include an expanded emergency department, new neonatal and adult intensive care units, in-centre renal dialysis unit, cardiology services and more than 200 inpatient beds.
Work started in July following an Aboriginal smoking ceremony conducted by Wadja Elder Uncle Dallas Dodd, accompanied by Nepean Hospital’s Aboriginal Health Department.
Set for completion in mid-2023, the new lab will be purpose-built with an additional 1000 m2 space, complete with new pathology testing spaces, reception area, staff amenities and administration.
All clinical and support services will be housed together on the ground floor of Building E (East Block), integrated with hospital services and located adjacent to the new emergency department, operating theatres and birthing unit.
Nepean Lab Operations Manager Stephen Parker said the new lab will revolutionise everyday operations, and modernise the services the lab and its dedicated staff provide to hospital clinicians and patients.
“This move will provide a number of benefits for our service, staff, the hospital and the patients we care for,” Stephen explained.
“It means we’ll be able to greatly expand anatomical pathology, the study of body tissue and cells to diagnose diseases including cancer, and microbiology, which involves pathologists looking for signs of infectious diseases caused by microscopic organisms including viruses, such as COVID-19, and bacteria. We expect an increase in test requests once the redevelopment’s complete, so expanding both disciplines is essential.”
Stephen said the new lab would be a vast improvement on the current pathology facilities.
“Our current lab is in an old, standalone building from the 1970s,” Stephen explained. “I’m told by some of my long-serving colleagues that pathology services moved in in 1994 and have been outgrowing the building ever since.
“Our services are split over two floors and we have no room for growth, so a 30 percent increase in floor space will certainly help. Being all together on one floor will generally improve how we work and communication throughout the lab.
“We’ll also have improved shared areas for collaboration, teaching and multi-disciplinary team meetings – a vast improvement from what’s currently available,” Stephen said.
The new lab also will provide improved facilities to support ongoing research at NSW Health Pathology.
“Our team’s really excited to see work happen and looking forward to working in purpose-built facilities,” Stephen said. “We won’t know ourselves, really.”