San Emergency Care celebrates 20 years

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Wahroonga, New South Wales

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Adventist Hospital’s (San) Emergency Care (EC) unit.

Change is always difficult but it was something we had to do.

One of the first private hospitals in NSW to open an emergency department, the San has now treated close to 400,000 emergency patients and provided 160,000 admissions to the hospital. Currently the EC treats an average of 20,000 patients a year.

Dignitaries and hospital employees gathered for a small ceremony out the front of the EC for a morning tea and speeches to commemorate the occasion, on what was a very busy day for the EC.

The celebration was opened with a welcome from San CEO Phil Currie and a prayer of thanks from chaplain Alex Currie.

Local member for Ku-ring-gai Alister Henskens, whose own family have had to use the EC was in attendance, along with Ku-ring-gai mayor Cheryl Szatow.

Dr Greg McDonald, Emergency Care director since it opened, likened the hospitals partnership with the EC unit to a marriage. “Only a quarter of marriages in Australia last past 20 years. How has our relationship managed to last for so long? Trust and respect.” Dr McDonald recounted some of the memorable patients that the EC had saved, while Dr Currie recalled the time, he himself had been treated for septic shock after receiving an infection. He said it may well have saved his life.

Former San CEO, Dr Leon Clark, was a driving force behind the establishment of EC shared some of the challenges. “We had to look after people in our community who needed help, critical help, not just elective procedures. It changed the nature of the hospital. Change is always difficult but it was something we had to do.”

Another speaker, Nursing Unit manager Robyn Stevens, who has also been there since the department opened, payed testament to the low turnover of staff and the good working relationships as a reason for the ECs success.

The ceremony was concluded by the release of 19 red balloons, one for each year the department has been in operation, by key members of the EC’s journey.