Patients spared big trip

TERRITORIANS will no longer have to go down south to get high-level care with Darwin Private Hospital’s new High Dependency Unit.

The three-bed unit should see up to 200 patients a year.

Hospital general manager Anthony Davis said: It ís one step down from an Intensive Care Unit the whole purpose is to be able to do some of the complex stuff here.

The HDU is all about high-level care following surgical procedures with more complex monitoring and a greater number of nurses.

At the moment, everyone who has a heart attack in the NT needs to get flown to Adelaide.

But he said having the unit in the Territory would allow for better clinical and personal care because patients could remain with family while in observation.

“There is still a percentage that will have to travel interstate,he said. We’re not quite there yet.”

The hospital will also be able to perform cardiac angioplasty, a procedure to treat narrowed arteries in the heart for the first time, and it has welcomed the opening of a Rapid Chest Pain Clinic.

At the moment, everyone who has a heart attack in the NT needs to get flown to Adelaide

Mr Davis said the clinic would include a special cardiac CT scanner, another first for the NT, and a new MRI scanner in the imaging suite. He said the NT Government set aside $12 million in last year’s mini-budget for Royal Darwin Hospital to advance their cardiology treatment.

But he said the public and private hospitals would share cardiologists and the new equipment would be used to treat patients as part of a contract at the RDH.

Mr Davis said patients needing open heart surgery would still need to travel interstate but he hoped those procedures could also be conducted in the Territory by 2016.