Private Hospitals Division

The Brainlab Airo provides real time information that a surgeon can rely on to make better informed decisions while operating.

Australia continues to experience a challenging private health care sector characterised by softening demand for elective surgery and reduced hospital volume growth, more private patients seeking treatment in public hospitals, and increasing numbers of young people in particular either discontinuing or reducing their private health cover.

Yet despite strong headwinds, 2018 was a year of significant achievement for St Vincent’s Health Australia’s Private Hospital Division as it sustained its market share and delivered major growth projects.

This included the opening of the $67 million St Vincent’s Private Hospital Werribee in Victoria which is designed to serve the health needs of 16,000 people annually, with the capacity to provide more than 60,000 surgical procedures annually.

The new hospital features six operating theatres, four delivery suits, and south-west Melbourne’s only hospital with a Cardiac Catheter Laboratory – used for the treatment and diagnosis of coronary artery disease and other structural heart diseases – providing critical care to cardiac patients without the need to travel more than 30 km to the city’s CBD.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital East Melbourne completed its expansion and refurbishment resulting in six brand new areas including a day oncology and infusion centre, a urology and urogynaecology unit, and an adult sleep studies unit.

St Vincent’s Private Toowoomba completed construction of the $30 million Clive Berghofer Operating Theatre Suite, which added six new state-of-the-art operating theatres, including a Cardiac Catheter Laboratory which has enabled the hospital to introduce exciting new cardiac services.

At St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney the construction of a new 13-storey East Wing was also completed during the year. The major redevelopment includes 50 additional beds, a new ambulatory care service, two new theatres, a new rehabilitation service, and additional doctors’ consulting suites

Time-lapse video of St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney’s new East Wing under construction.

Refurbishment works have now commenced on the existing St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney building, including the medical/surgical inpatient units, an updated and revitalised main entrance, and refurbishment of the Day Surgery Unit.

The focus on cutting edge technology and innovation remains a priority for the Private Hospitals Division.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne became the first private hospital in Victoria to install Brainlab Airo technology, which allows for high-resolution, diagnostic-quality images intraoperatively.

Airo is ideal for cranial, spine and trauma procedures. It enables our surgeons to have far greater accuracy when visualising the field of surgery. For our patients, all scans can be taken in theatre and relayed to the surgeon in real time, which means less time under anaesthetic and no need to travel to and from a traditional CT machine, pre, post, or during surgery.

The year also saw the conclusion of the two-year collaborative pilot between St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane and Bupa of Palliative Care in the Home.

There is significant unmet need for at-home palliative care services in Australia. Seventy per cent of Australians would prefer to die at home however only about 14 per cent do so.

The St Vincent’s Brisbane-Bupa pilot was the first such partnership in Queensland – and only the second in Australia – between a hospital provider and a private health fund to provide greater palliative care choice for health fund members.

The pilot has been an outstanding success, not only delivering a cost effective alternative to hospital treatment, but a much more person-centred treatment approach with 89% of participants dying in their preferred place of death.

The pilot is to be extended with another major health fund seeking to join the trial.