Hospitals 15 June 2022

Monash Medical Centre: Expanding a busy major hospital

Construction on emergency departments and specialist hospitals has continued through the pandemic, with more vital resources becoming available.

The injection of funding helps Victorian health services to keep pace with the state’s growing population, expected to reach 10 million people by 2051.

In this article, learn about how we expanded one of Victoria’s busiest emergency departments to care for more people in the state’s south-east. 

More Victorians now have access to the care they need thanks to the $76.3 million Monash Medical Centre emergency department expansion and refurbishment project.

The expansion includes a new emergency department and a dedicated children’s emergency area. This area is designed to provide children with a private, calm and compassionate environment and to help meet increasing demand for paediatric emergency care.

An additional 28 emergency department beds and an extra six short-stay beds (for a total of 20 beds) for patients who need extended observation have also been added. There are now 110 points of care within the emergency department.

The redevelopment will also improve access for ambulances arriving at the emergency department, so that patients can be seen more quickly.

Why Monash Medical Centre?

Monash Medical Centre is a major hospital providing a range of specialist surgical, medical, allied health and mental health services to the communities of south eastern metropolitan Melbourne.

It’s also the base for Monash Heart, a centre of excellence in cardiac assessment, treatment and research, and Monash Children’s, the third largest provider of paediatric services in Australia. 

Monash Medical Centre is one of the busiest hospitals in Melbourne and is forecast to experience a significant increase in presentations over the next decade. 

Before the project began, the hospital was recording more than 93,000 emergency department presentations each year.

What the expansion delivered

The expanded and refurbished emergency department at the Monash Medical Centre is now able to support 46,000 extra presentations each year.

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Project Stage 1: Building a new emergency department

In March 2021 we delivered a new emergency department at the Monash Medical Centre with a new triage entrance, a dedicated children’s emergency area and triage resus bays with pandemic negative air flow capability which reduces risk of spreading airborne diseases.

‘The children’s emergency area was purpose-built for families, to make trips to the emergency department less scary for kids. It will meet increasing demand for paediatric emergency care. This will translate to better, more personalised treatment for kids, their families and carers at a time they need it most.'

Terry Hannaford, Principal Project Manager, Health Capital Program, Victorian Health Building Authority

Project Stage 2: Refurbishing the existing emergency department

Thanks to an accelerated program, we were able to open the refurbished emergency department just before Christmas 2021.

‘This completely transformed the old and outdated area, delivering 41 adult emergency bays and a 20-bed sort stay unit.

‘We were also able to incorporate design features that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient,’ said Mr Hannaford.

Project Stage 3: Improving access

On track to be completed later this year, the final part of the project will provide a dedicated drop-off area for patients and visitors.

Previously there was a single entrance for patients arriving by ambulance, visitors and deliveries which caused blockages. Each now has a separate entrance.

‘With better access for ambulances, patients can receive the vital care they need faster,’ said Mr Hannaford.

How did we expand such a busy hospital?

Community consultation

An enhanced patient journey and experience was a key aim and outcome of the project.

‘To ensure we were delivering benefits effectively, Monash Health led community consultation in partnership with the Victorian Health Building Authority. This allowed us to positively engage patients, visitors, staff and the surrounding neighbourhood in the project.’

Dr Neil Goldie, Service Director – Emergency Medicine, Monash Health

Careful planning to minimise disruption

The existing emergency department at the Monash Medical Centre continued to function with unchanged capacity throughout the project. 

‘The project was designed and structured to ensure that the hospital and its emergency department could remain operational throughout the construction period. This also included construction during the pandemic which required another level of coordination with hospital operational staff.'

Terry Hannaford, Principal Project Manager, Health Capital Program, Victorian Health Building Authority

‘This included planning disruptive works to be done after-hours or around critical hospital activities.’

Staged construction

Early works Build temporary ambulance bays and entry to existing emergency department, services diversions, prepare fire separation between Stage 1 and existing emergency department and temporary clinical spaces
Construction Stage 1 Demolish part of the existing emergency department, build ‘ED North’ including new ambulance bays and handover to Monash Health for relocation and operation
Construction Stage 2 Demolish temporary ambulance bays and second half of existing emergency department, build ‘ED South’ including new main entrance for patient drop off and access to new emergency department or hospital reception
Construction Stage 3 Divert existing authority services on Clayton Road, road widening including footpaths and bus stop relocations, two new traffic light intersections, new McCulloch St for hospital back-of-house vehicles access

The project team including the building contractor, Kane Constructions developed a methodology for the expansion by prioritising:

  1. Health and wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors inside the operational hospital
  2. Safe access to the hospital for staff, patients and visitors throughout the works
  3. Business and operational continuity for the hospital including building services, access for support services and deliveries
  4. Safe traffic movements adjacent to the site, particularly public movements on Clayton Road, Dixon Street, main entrance and the new McCulloch Street, as well as vehicle and staff movement through areas adjacent to the site
  5. Maintaining vehicle access to the loading dock, ambulance bays, drop off areas and car parking

What made this project unique?

The project site was immediately adjacent to the main entrance, intensive care unit (ICU), operating theatres, ambulance access and Monash Children’s Hospital.

Construction also took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richard Watson in hardhat, smiling on site

‘The pandemic started three months into the project, during which time the project was closed for six weeks until it was given dispensation and put on the Victorian Essential Infrastructure List. In accelerating each stage, the project made the handover deadlines for both stages ahead of schedule. This included the addition of night shifts to ensure timely handover to Monash Health’s requirements for pending COVID-19 infection waves.’

Richard Watson, Project Manager, Kane Constructions

What are the benefits for patients?

Better facilities and tools

Dr Goldie said: ‘The expansion has improved facilities, introduced new state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and enhanced our service delivery so we can meet the needs of the growing local community.

Seamless transfers, separation of care

‘We can implement new models of care and to better segregate adult and children’s care. We can also maintain a seamless transfer for patients requiring emergency surgery, critical care or paediatric inpatient care,’ said Dr Goldie.

‘Our short stay units provide a quiet and calm environment for patients who require extended observation and care for up to 24 hours, but who will not require admission to a multiday bed.’

Investment in metropolitan Melbourne

The Victorian Health Building Authority’s work includes planning and building new hospitals and ambulance stations, aged care and mental health facilities, redeveloping existing hospital facilities, as well as replacing and upgrading engineering infrastructure and medical equipment.

Through strong partnerships with local and federal government, health services, industry and Victorian communities, our expert teams provide innovative and sustainable solutions to ensure our health system meets the current and future needs of all Victorians.

Find out more about our projects in metropolitan Melbourne.

The Victorian Government invested $162.7 million to expand the Northern Hospital in Epping.

The expansion will help the Northern Hospital meet future demand for emergency and healthcare services. Additional capacity and services will allow up to 10,000 more patients in the Hume, Whittlesea and Mitchell communities to receive treatment each year.

Read more on the Northern Hospital expansion project page.

The Victorian Government invested $34.9 million in the Sunshine Hospital emergency department redevelopment.

Sunshine’s emergency department is one of the busiest in Victoria. It treats around 65,000 patients each year. Once complete, Sunshine Hospital’s new emergency department will be able to treat an extra 59,000 patients each year.

Read more on the Sunshine Hospital emergency department redevelopment project page.

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital redevelopment is upgrading the infrastructure of the largest public provider of ophthalmology and ear, nose and throat services in Victoria.

The hospital is Australia’s only specialist eye and ear, nose and throat (ENT) hospital. It sees nearly 220,000 patients per year, including over 40,000 emergency attendances.

The redeveloped hospital will have eight operating rooms and 14 recovery spaces, 37 same-day beds/chairs and 24 overnight stay inpatient beds.

Read more on The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital redevelopment project page.

The Victorian Heart Hospital will be Australia’s first state-of-the-art, specialist cardiac hospital. 

It will provide innovative, holistic and patient-centred care, as well as world-leading research and education.

Soon to be home to the state’s leading cardiac specialists and researchers, the Victorian Heart Hospital will provide life-saving diagnosis and treatment for thousands of patients each year.

Read more on the Victorian Heart Hospital project page.

Established in 2020, the $200 million Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund supports construction, remodelling and refurbishment projects and other vital upgrade works to meet service demand and improve safety and infection prevention and control measures in metropolitan Melbourne’s busiest hospitals and community health organisations.

Recent projects funded and delivered/being delivered through the Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund include:

  • $25.8 million to upgrade central sterile services departments at the Austin Hospital and the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital
  • $5.7 million for facility refurbishments at the Aboriginal Community Elders Services in Brunswick
  • $5.2 million for a new state-of-the-art anatomical pathology lab at the Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • $4.3 million to upgrade surgical services at Moorabbin Hospital.

The 2022-23 State Budget provided a $25 million boost to the Metropolitan Health Infrastructure Fund.

This year’s State Budget provides over $1.7 billion for health infrastructure projects in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, including over $900 million to construct the fully electric new Melton Hospital.

Read more about what the Victorian Budget 22-23 provides.

The Victorian Health Building Authority is responsible for the planning and delivery of the Victorian Government’s multibillion-dollar health infrastructure program.

Explore more stories Behind the build.

Illustration of community members engaging with a VHBA project

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Last updated: 15 June 2022