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RPA pilots Surgical Support Centre

New Surgical Support Centre provides comfortable space for patients to prepare or recover from surgery.

A nurse attaches a medical monitoring device to the finger of a patient who is connected to RPA Virtual Hospital on a display in an accommodation room.
SydneyConnect Image: A nurse and patient at the Surgical Support Centre

Sydney Local Health District is piloting a new model of care at RPA that's designed to ease demand for hospital beds, by providing a safe and comfortable space for patients to prepare or recover from surgery.

Under the innovative state-first pilot, The Surgical Support Centre provides accommodation for eligible patients where they will receive clinical support and care as they prepare for a procedure or recuperate after surgery.

Patients are cared for on-site by specialty community nursing teams and a medically led, virtual multi-disciplinary team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the pilot will enable some patients to be transferred to the Centre, allowing for quicker discharges from the ward.

"The NSW Government has invested almost $1 billion to reduce elective surgery wait times that were delayed due to the pandemic response," Mr Perrottet said.

"Similar centres overseas have been a huge success, helping hospitals to get more surgery done while also offering patients a quieter place to recuperate."

So far, more than 20 patients have received care at the Centre including those from rural and regional areas who may need pre-operative tests or care after surgery - procedures that would otherwise have required them to stay in hospital.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the rooms, with their own ensuite, living area and balcony, will be particularly beneficial for patients from regional areas, who may want someone to stay with them.

"We are always looking for innovative ways to provide the very best care to hospital patients and this first-of-a-kind centre for NSW offers the best of both worlds - a comfortable, home-like environment for patients that frees up beds for acute care services," Mr Hazzard said.

"Not only are patients supported around the clock, but the accommodation can also provide a home away from home for their families and carers."

The Centre is working with all 17 surgical specialties in RPA, as well as those public patients being cared for at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse and Sydney Day Surgery.

"The feedback we've received from our patients has been positive, with patients reporting they felt confident staying at The Surgical Support Centre because their symptoms and condition are being monitored," Dr Owen Hutchings, the Clinical Director of RPA Virtual Hospital, said.

The pilot has been developed in collaboration with RPA Virtual Hospital, the RPA Institute of Academic Surgery, the Criteria Led Discharge Team and RPA's Surgical and Pharmacy Departments.

It draws on the experience of RPA Virtual Hospital, which has provided virtual care to more than 63,000 patients since it was launched in 2020.