01 May 2017

Life-saving treatment for children across Northern NSW has been boosted with the opening of a $14 million Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at John Hunter Children’s Hospital.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the new state-of-the-art facility will enhance the capacity for critical care services for children and young people in a family-friendly environment.

“Having children in intensive care is often the most stressful time a family will ever face, so this unit has been designed specifically with families’ needs in mind,” Mr Hazzard said.

“More than 300 children and young people require intensive care treatment each year at John Hunter Children’s Hospital – and demand is increasing. By building this unit, we are ensuring our most vulnerable patients get access to the best care available in a modern clinical facility.”

Children and young people who require medical, surgical and major trauma treatment will receive care in the dedicated eight-bed unit, which complements existing neonatal intensive care services.

The unit features separate overnight accommodation and a family/parent room for some quiet time.

Dr Jorge Brieva, Staff Specialist, John Hunter Hospital Intensive Care Unit, said John Hunter Children’s Hospital is the primary referral facility for more than 20 per cent of the state’s children and young people.

“The everyday lives of families are quickly altered when a child becomes critically ill. I am proud that with the addition of the PICU, families can access specialised care closer to home in a dedicated unit,” said Dr Brieva.

The John Hunter Hospital Emergency Department is one of the busiest in NSW, treating nearly 25,000 children and young people each year.

Work on the NSW Government-funded, $18 million Stage 2 and 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) refurbishment at John Hunter Children’s Hospital is also progressing on schedule and is due to be completed mid-2018.