St Andrew’s celebrates 20 years of private emergency care

From small beginnings in 1994, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Centre has grown to become one of Brisbane’s leading private emergency care providers, celebrating 20 years of operation in August.

St Andrew’s Emergency Centre Director Dr Sean Rothwell said the Centre now treated more than 12,000 patients per year for conditions including cardiac, neurological, orthopaedic and surgical emergencies, sports injuries and other urgent conditions.
Dr Rothwell, who has been an emergency physician for 10 years, took on the role of Director of St Andrew’s Emergency Centre in 2011.

“The most significant change is how the Emergency Centre has evolved and is now an integral part of St Andrew’s,” Dr Rothwell said.

He said the Emergency Centre operates in conjunction with many other specialties at the hospital, including 24-hour access to intensive care, radiology, interventional cardiology, vascular surgery, internal medicine and general surgery. The department also provides a strong link between Brisbane’s sporting clubs and the hospital’s numerous orthopaedic surgeons.

“The diagnostic, treatment, and communication capabilities in private emergency medicine have improved considerably. Improved access to diagnostic tools such as CT scans, MRI and cardiac investigations along with fast turnaround in pathology times have enabled us to provide detailed assessments and focused treatment in a shorter space of time.

“This has led to shorter hospital stays and better outcomes for our patients.”

Dr Maree Whitchurch, who first started working at St Andrew’s Emergency Centre in 1997, said the people were the reason she had stayed in her role at the hospital.

“Emergency medicine is very much about the team environment, with nurses, doctors, administration and ward staff working closely to ensure safe outcomes for patients. We also have great working relationships with specialists and others outside our department in the hospital,” she said.

“The challenge, variety and ability to spend longer times consulting patients also make emergency medicine very rewarding.”

To celebrate the St Andrew’s Emergency Centre’s 20th anniversary, Dr Whitchurch, who is a keen baker, is baking and icing a special cake for the Emergency Centre incorporating the renowned St Andrew’s tartan harking back to the hospital’s Scottish heritage.