Helping patients to find early answers

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Epworth Eastern’s new endoscopy suite is helping to improve patient outcomes through early diagnosis of cancer and a wide range of other health conditions.

Part of the Melbourne hospital’s $162 million redevelopment, the state-of-the-art facility also aims to tackle the backlog of demand for endoscopy services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The facility plays an integral role in providing the best possible care for our patients,” said Epworth Eastern’s Executive General Manager, Kerry May.

“An early cancer diagnosis not only increases the likelihood of survival but also improves the quality of life for patients."

The endoscopy suite will be used to diagnose and treat cancers and tumours, both gastroenterological and respiratory, as well as gall stones, stomach and duodenal ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, oesophagus issues, infections, polyps, and unexplained bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

It features seven bed bays, eight discharge chairs and three theatres, all equipped with high-definition endoscopes, processors, and sterilisers.

The suite was designed to give patients a comfortable and private experience during their endoscopy – a procedure in which a long, thin tube with a small camera is put into the body to investigate internal conditions.

"Patients initially recover in a bed then transfer to a private chair to complete their recovery, in a relaxed and calm atmosphere," said Dr Nicholas Wilsmore, a respiratory and sleep physician who is one of more than 100 consultants attending the suite.

“It helps us to return patients to their regular activities quickly, while maintaining a more pleasant patient experience,” he added.

Ms May said the new suite brought cancer services together under one roof at the Epworth HealthCare hospital, which opened a new oncology ward in March 2022.

It has also expanded its cardiothoracic services, commissioning a hybrid theatre equipped with the latest technology.

"These expanded services ensure Epworth Eastern is well positioned to cater for the growth in demand for healthcare services well into the future," Ms May said.

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