Epworth Eastern redevelopment begins!

September 2, 2019| Epworth News /

Construction work has begun on Epworth Eastern’s massive expansion, which will establish Australia’s first Chinese medicine suite within a western hospital.

The mutli-faceted redevelopment will also bring a second emergency department to Box Hill and hundreds of new car parks to its congested centre.

Epworth Eastern has just relocated two of its 12 operating theatres to a facility in Kew as builders prepare to erect a 14-storey tower next to the Box Hill hospital.

The East Wing Tower, which will interconnect with the existing building on its first five levels, will offer more consulting suites, operating theatres and wards for the at-capacity hospital.

Epworth Eastern executive director Louise O’Connor said the tower would be up and running by the end of 2021.

Epworth Eastern executive director Louise O’Connor at the construction site

Epworth Eastern executive director Louise O’Connor at the construction site

a 14-storey tower is about to go up

a 14-storey tower is about to go up

It will host the new Epworth Eastern Chinese-Western Medicine Precinct, which will be the first eastern medical floor integrated within a western hospital in Australia, on level eight.

Ms O’Connor said the eastern medicine services, including Chinese massage, acupuncture and herbal medicine, would be offered alongside the traditional western medicine, and would allow patients to have choice with their treatment.

We know that in some aspects Eastern medicine is complementary and is the right thing to do.
— Louise O'Connor, Epworth Eastern Executive Director, Epworth HealthCare
It will be run as an outpatient service which anyone can access.
— Louise O'Connor, Epworth Eastern Executive Director, Epworth HealthCare

Epworth Eastern is also planning to partner with a Chinese hospital to allow a staff exchange to improve its clinical practice.

The aim is also to have students from the RMIT Chinese medicine school come and spend time here.
— Louise O'Connor, Epworth Eastern Executive Director, Epworth HealthCare

Ms O’Connor said she had been liaising with the deputy commissioner to China about which Chinese hospitals to partner with.

Responding to Box Hill’s large Chinese population, the hospital already has more than 50 Chinese speaking doctors and a Chinese concierge service.

And the language-assistance service will be set to rapidly expand when the hospital opens its emergency department on the ground floor in 2021.

The 10-cubicle department will be the second emergency department in Whitehorse.

Three levels of basement car-parking will be located under the tower, while about 170 carparks will be built across the Box Hill Salvation Army site at 17-23 Nelson Rd when the organisation moves at the end of next year.

“We know there’s a lot of carparking issues,” Ms O’Connor said.

“A lot of staff do park around the surrounding streets so this is a great win.”

Epworth Eastern is building the Salvation Army’s new Box Hill headquarters next to Box Hill Town Hall as part of a landmark agreement between the groups and Box Hill Institute.

Salvation Army Church

Salvation Army Church

Ms O’Connor said the site at 17-23 Nelson Rd marked the future for the area’s healthcare.

“While it’s (going to be) a carpark initially, it’s the golden ticket, where you can actually look at doing things differently.”

She said the hospital could in future use the space in its mission to change healthcare.

“We know that there’s an ageing population and we know that more people are living on their own. We need to modify healthcare to address that. Are we looking at hotel-style accommodation on site? Is it something that we should look as something we could do on the Salvation Army site?”

“It’s quite exciting.”

Originally published by Serena Seyfort for Herald Sun


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