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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Makeshift COVID-19 hospital to be operational next month

A dedicated makeshift COVID-19 hospital to be built in Canberra at a cost of up to $23 million will be operational next month, the ACT Government has announced.

The new purpose-built field hospital will be constructed at or near the Canberra Hospital and will, in the first instance, have capacity for up to 50 patients with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.

The ACT Government has partnered with Canberra-based company Aspen Medical for the project.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr told ABC Radio Canberra’s Breakfast this morning that specifics around the exact location and design of the temporary COVID-19 hospital are being finalised.

“It sits above tent city; it sits above some of the facilities that you’re seeing being rushed in other parts of the world.”

Aspen Medical are globally renowned for their provision of emergency health services, and specialise in modular, pop-up emergency health services, making them “the logical partners for such a response in an emergency situation”, Mr Barr said.

Aspen’s website claims they’re able to turn around a fully operational 100-bed mobile hospital “within 72 hours”.

Planning for the facility has so far been based around operating for an initial three to six month period, with scope to review depending on Canberra’s circumstances.

“We’re undertaking this action now in order to ensure that we’ve got that extra capacity when we anticipate that we are going to need it through the winter period,” Mr Barr said.

He said the COVID-19 hospital will accommodate the array of experiences that individuals with the virus encounter.

“You can get the isolation you need for patients who have the virus, who are in need of hospital treatment.

“Some need ICU … but equally there will be patients who may not need full ICU support but will certainly need high level health support in an appropriate facility,” he said.

The facility will function using with both Aspen Medical and Canberra Health Services staff in “an integrated response” to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The costs associated with the COVID-19 hospital are to be shared 50/50 between the ACT and federal governments.

The ACT Government said more details on the site location and model of care will be released soon.

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