August 30, 2022

Acute General Surgical Unit moves to Ward 13

Northern Health’s Acute General Surgical Unit (AGSU) formally opened on Wednesday, 22 June in Ward 13. The space has been refurbished to provide a purpose-built environment and a new model of care, and designed to enhance patient flow.

The objective of the model is to improve access and flow from the Emergency Department (ED) by providing a dedicated area for the surgical team to review and treat patients.

The AGSU model of care started at Northern Health in February 2013, with none other than our Chief Medical Officer, Associate Professor Wanda S Stelmach, as Head of Unit. In her team were 14 general surgeons, five locum doctors, three unaccredited registrars and four interns.

The origins of the AGSU model of care go back even further, to the General Surgeons Australia’s 12-point plan for Emergency Surgery developed in 2009. This, in turn, came about as a result of the importance and growing demand for emergency general surgery, the lack of timely care of emergency general surgery admissions, and the transition from the traditional on-call system to the Acute Surgical Unit model.

The feedback for the new ward and setting has been very positive:

“Early transfer to AGSU prevents long waiting hours in ED for beds and improves patient flow,” says Nurse Kavitha Satheesh.

Dr Russell Hodgson, Consultant Surgeon, AGSU, says, “The new AGSU ward has taken the stress and lengthy time delays out of the morning ward round.”

Linda Romano, Divisional Director Nursing, Surgical Services & Access, says, “The new ward has been designed to be pathway driven, providing immediate assessment and treatment in the right place at the right time and improving access and flow within our Emergency Department. It has been great to see how enthusiastic everyone involved have been to make this a success.”

Dennis Gyomber, Divisional Director, Surgery, is excited for all those who have worked hard to create this model.

“It has been pleasing to see how this model has been embraced by the ED, surgical and nursing teams. And, once again, it shows the innovative and collaborative culture at Northern Health,” he says.

Amanda Paleologos, Director of Operations Elective Surgery and Surgical Wards (Ag) added, “It has been really humbling to see the passion and drive of the nursing team supporting the new model.”

According to Wanda, “It was always the dream of the original model of care for AGSU to have a home ward. I am delighted that the dream has finally been realised. This gives the AGSU team the opportunity to streamline and standardise patient care, which will lead to a much improved experience for our emergency general surgery patients. I am delighted to see the enthusiasm which this opportunity has been embraced by all of our staff – well done Team AGSU!”

Featured image: Staff and well wishers at Ward 13 on the opening of the AGSU Ward.