Ashley Gemmill is one of thousands of people who have benefited from the extension of opening hours at Epworth Geelong’s Emergency Department (ED) in the past year.
When the 50-year-old experienced chest pains in the early hours of the morning last September, he did not have to travel far for treatment.
Having called for help on the Triple Zero emergency service, he was able to choose an option close to his home in Waurn Ponds.
“Now that Epworth is open overnight it is just around the corner and makes life a lot simpler,” he said.
Previously open 16 hours a day, the Victorian private hospital’s ED became a 24-7 service in March 2022.
Since then, Mr Gemmill is one of more than 2,000 people who have been treated there between the hours of midnight and 8am.
“It is also easier for family to support those who are admitted to Epworth Geelong,” he added. ”It provides another option for healthcare for the Greater Geelong community.”
Leonie Lloyd, the hospital’s Executive General Manager, said the transition to round-the-clock opening was a response to growing demand from the community.
To support the extended hours, Epworth Geelong has expanded its Intensive Care Unit and opened an additional operating theatre.
About 20 percent of people attending the ED are admitted to the hospital.
“We’ve also expanded cardiac and neurosurgery services and seen an increase in cancer services,” Ms Lloyd said.
Mr Gemmill was one of more than 300 patients taken to the ED in an ambulance, and Ms Lloyd said the extra capacity was helping paramedics to deliver care in the region.
“We are pleased to provide them with another option to transport their patients needing an overnight emergency department. It means they’re able to get back on the road sooner and help the community,” she said.