March 26, 2021

Safe, kind and outdoors: new courtyard opens

Just a short distance from our Rehabilitation/Supply office at Northern Hospital Epping, there is now a quiet oasis, where staff get to have informal meetings and enjoy their meal breaks.

Jason Cirone, Director Workforce Sustainability, says this courtyard and garden came about in response to physical distancing requirements and the need for health services to improve their outdoor spaces.

He explains, “This enables us to spread our staff out across the campus, and achieve appropriate physical distancing.”

This initiative, facilitated by People & Culture and Engineering, is open only to Northern Health staff, accessible through the use of staff swipe cards.

Steve Micallef from the Engineering team says he is very pleased at how the courtyard has turned out. He says it was, “An old garden – over the course of times we kept it neat, but the dream was to have a decking here and to open the courtyard to staff.”

He says, “We now have the decking and a nice little garden. The roof has been added – keeps the sun and rain out and keeps the wind out too, and staff in this side of the hospital now get to use an open area that they can enjoy, rain hail or shine.”

Steve and his team have planted magnolias, forest pansies, new hedging and azaleas, which he says will bring lots of colour and green to the courtyard even in winter and autumn. “The boys did a really good job! It’s exactly as I imagined!”

“Looking forward to sitting here on a rainy day. It will be really nice with the sound off the roof,” adds Steve.

Says Jason, “It’s great to see staff using our improved outdoor spaces for breaks and catch ups. We are pleased to have created another area staff can get outside.”

Sue Wood, Senior, Allied Health Receptionist, says, “We are really happy with the courtyard. This gives us an opportunity to have little breakaways for five minutes on a busy day. It’s quite a pleasant environment and been enjoyed by myself and my colleagues. It’s great!”

Featured picture shows Jason Cirone (back) and Steve Micallef (front)