The increasing demand for neonatal services at John Hunter Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) over time resulted in an acute lack of space. The NICU was originally designed to cater for 28 cots in a physical space of 850sqm. Twenty-five years later, prior to the redevelopment, it was servicing 42 cots in the same area. This overcrowding contributed to inefficient operational flows, increased infection risk, and inadequate storage areas and family spaces. The new expanded NICU has 53 cot bays and associated support services in approximately 2,350sqm.
The redevelopment project provides Hunter New England Local Health District with a facility that meets Health Facility Guidelines, aligns with NSW Health policy and reflects contemporary models of care in an environment that provides safety, dignity and privacy for the children and families of Northern NSW.
The commitment, dedication and energy of all stakeholders in this project has made it a truly collaborative endeavour. The NICU staff, designers and construction contractor have all been open and responsive to the needs and requirements of the project. This allowed the PWA project team to overcome the major risks inherent with construction in an occupied and operational hospital.
The project was completed over four stages, with existing cot numbers being maintained throughout construction. The final stage was handed over, on schedule, in June 2018.