After The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, Australia, was damaged by a storm, Vanguard Healthcare Solutions provided a portable operating theatre, enabling surgeons to undertake mobile open-heart surgery for the first time.
The Alfred has one of the busiest emergency and trauma centres in Australia. It was damaged by a storm earlier this year. Photo: Vanguard Healthcare Solutions
Professor Paul Myles, the hospital's Director of Anaesthaesia and Perioperative Medicine, described the solution as “innovative” and said that the installation of the theatre saved numerous patients from waiting weeks or months for their procedures.
The laminar flow theatre was shipped from the UK, completing a 15,500-mile journey by sea over 50 days. It was functional within days of its arrival in Australia, following a thorough commissioning and testing process. The portable suite was extensively modified to accommodate open-heart surgery.
Professor Myles said: “The first thing we had to do was consider safety. We wanted to run simulation sessions to triple-check everything was okay. The theatre exceeded expectations, and after a thorough trial process, staff began easy surgeries there.
“We started with some straight forward open-heart surgery cases and they went really well; it's the first-time open-heart surgery has been done in this type of portable operating theatre in the world, to my knowledge.”
While the space was modified to cater for the open-heart surgeries, staff at the hospital agreed it could be tailored to suit other procedure types.
The theatre remained at The Alfred until repair work was completed on the hospital. From there, it will be moved around Australia according to where it is needed.
The mobile laminar flow unit can be adapted as necessary to provide flexible and portable operating solutions. Photo: Vanguard Healthcare Solutions
Steve Peak, Delivery and Development Director at Vanguard, said: “Vanguard is delighted to be working alongside The Alfred in this our first collaboration in Australia. To see the laminar flow theatre being used in this way is fantastic and shows how versatile these units can be and how they can be used successfully for the most complex of procedures.
"Theatres such as these can offer a quick solution and one that offers flexibility and portability for hospitals who perhaps require an extra operating theatre in a location that perhaps didn't need it in the past."
Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, based in the UK, is a medical technology company which has partnered with healthcare providers globally for almost 20 years. Its international branch, Q-bital is a CRJ Key Network Partner.