3 February 2005
On Thursday, 3 February 2005 the $2.63 million extension of the Gastroenterology Department at Christchurch Hospital, was officially opened by the Minister of Health, Hon Annette King.
The new facilities include a Bronchoscopy Unit for the Department of Respiratory Medicine, as well as three Endoscopy Units for the Department of Gastroenterology and Endoscopic Surgeons. This will allow an increase in provision for endoscopy services, and moves the department into the twenty-first century.
Increased nursing staff have been hired to cope with the increase in patient turnover, and the new Recovery Area is almost double the size of the old area, and will allow a greater turnover of patients. A new appointment for consultant gastroenterologist is also in the pipeline.
There is a dedicated area for Gastrointestinal Motility Investigations, and office space for Nurse Specialists in the areas of Hepatitis C, PEG feeding, and Familial Bowel Cancer Registry. There is also space for the research being done in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, with Dr Richard Gearry, senior registrar and other drug trials which the department is involves in. Christchurch was the largest recruiter in Australasia for a recent study, and the unit has won respect throughout for the high quality research being done.
Patients will be much more comfortable in this new department. The newly developed receptions area shares space with Nuclear Medicine, but there are special interview rooms to ensure patient privacy, and an area set aside for relatives and patients once they have recovered from the procedures.
Christchurch Hospital offers a tertiary Gastroenterology service for the South Island and has the only facility for capsule endoscopy, which was donated through the Christchurch Liver and Diseases Trust. There are many therapeutic procedures that can not be performed endoscopically including clipping of bleeding vessels, Argon Plasma Coagulation, and specialised chromoendoscopy. These will all be available in the new department.
“It’s been a long time coming.” says Dr Bruce Chapman, Clinical Director of the Gastroenterology Department, “Many people have worked hard towards bringing this about. I am thrilled for both patients and staff that we’ll now have a reasonably pleasant and safe working environment.”