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Change is the word on ev­ery­one’s lips in the year St Vin­cent’s Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal Toowoomba proudly cel­e­brates 95 years of ser­vice to the com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in Toowoomba and across the Dar­ling Downs and south west Queens­land.

While the orig­i­nal main hos­pi­tal build­ing, which dates back to 1922, is still in use, progress on con­struc­tion of the lat­est ad­di­tion to the cam­pus is surg­ing ahead with the $30 mil­lion Clive Berghofer Op­er­at­ing Theatre Suite project now past the half-way point.

This ma­jor project will add six new state-of-the-art op­er­at­ing the­atres, in­clud­ing a spe­cial hy­brid theatre for in­ter­ven­tional car­di­ol­ogy and a new day surgery unit, and is due for com­ple­tion early in 2018.

The hos­pi­tal chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Kathryn Mc­k­eefry says the project has been an out­stand­ing suc­cess to date.

“More than 48,000 man hours have gone into the project so far and there have been no re­portable in­ci­dents — this is an out­stand­ing achievement and tes­ta­ment to, not only the good man­age­ment of Hutchin­son’s Builders, our project builders, but also to the trades­peo­ple who are em­ployed on the project, many of whom are lo­cals,” Kathryn says.

“Our new kitchen is now com­plete — a month ahead of sched­ule — and while the jour­ney so far has in­volved change and pe­ri­ods of noise and vi­bra­tion, the worst is over and the project is still on track for an early com­ple­tion.”

Kathryn says the theatre build isn’t the only ma­jor project hap­pen­ing within the walls of St Vin­cent’s at the mo­ment.

“Ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion and re­fur­bish­ment projects have been oc­cur­ring con­cur­rently with the build,” she says.

“Ten­ders are out for work on the new 22 bed re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion unit, which will be called St Michael’s, and once this ward is com­plete work will be­gin on cre­at­ing a new car­diac ward in St Luke’s.

“The car­diac ward will sup­port a new 24 hour in­ter­ven­tional car­di­ol­ogy ser­vice, which in turn, will utilise our new hy­brid theatre be­ing built as part of the theatre suites.”

Kathryn says even more ex­cit­ing is the news that St Vin­cent’s Health Aus­tralia has ap­proved fund­ing for a fea­si­bil­ity study to scope out a pro­posed stage two ex­pan­sion that will add new imag­ing and emer­gency cen­tres as well as med­i­cal suites, un­der­cover car park­ing and a new hos­pi­tal en­trance off Her­ries Street.

To mark the 95th an­niver­sary, the hos­pi­tal is cel­e­brat­ing with a gala event to be held at St Pa­trick’s Cathe­dral Cen­tre on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 9, 2017.

The hos­pi­tal in­vites ev­ery­one to join in the cel­e­bra­tion.

Kathryn said it would be a fun night, with a great spe­cial guest — Sa­muel John­son, Aus­tralian ac­tor, ra­dio pre­sen­ter, voiceover artist and phi­lan­thropist, and also the fab­u­lous Lisa Hunt and the For­ever Soul Band for guests to dance the night away.

St Vin­cent’s re­tired nurses are also or­gan­is­ing a big re­union in Septem­ber to cel­e­brate and rem­i­nisce 95 years of ser­vice.

More than 150 nurses have reg­is­tered in­clud­ing some who be­gan train­ing in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Their memories are of fun and some­times not-so-fun times, when all nurses lived in strictly-cur­fewed quar­ters, were re­quired to pay for any equip­ment break­ages such as glass sy­ringes and ther­mome­ters, and per­formed do­mes­tic and health care du­ties as part of their work shift — all for 15 shillings per week… that’s… $1.50,” Kathryn says.

“As we cel­e­brate 95 years, their ex­pe­ri­ences are a won­der­ful reflection on how much has changed but also how much re­mains the same at St Vin­cent’s.”

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