A Sydney family's donation helps fund a revamp of the General Practice Casualty service at Balmain hospital
A Sydney family has made a major financial contribution to the revamp of the General Practice Casualty (GPC) service at the historic Balmain hospital.
“We’ve taken our children to the GPC. The care that was given to us there at the time was wonderful,” Kylie Pagent who has lived in Balmain, with her husband Nick and their three children, since 1998, said.
The GPC provides urgent treatment for minor injuries, illnesses and other health problems usually treated by a GP. It’s open from 8am to 10pm every day of the year.
The couple visited the GPC when, as a toddler, their eldest son injured his head and, on another occasion, when their youngest son had an asthma attack.
“We are very fortunate to have such a special service at a hospital in our local community. As a parent, you’re worried and concerned about your child when they’re sick or hurt. And, this is a local place where you can go to get care,” Kylie said.
Grateful for the care their children received – and for support given to their business over the past 12 years – the Pagent family was keen to give back to the community where they live.
After attending a Balmain Ball, an annual event held to raise funds for the hospital, and discussions with the hospital’s executive team, Kylie and Nick decided to make a donation to help fund the re-design of the GPC.
During the renovation project, the GPC’s patient waiting room, triage area and front reception has been overhauled.
Sydney Local Health District’s chief executive Dr Teresa Anderson AM joined the Pagent family to celebrate the re-designed GPC.
“Looking after you as the care providers, giving you the best space to work in and to look after the locals in Balmain… it’s a great pleasure,” Nick told those gathered for the official opening.
Dr Anderson said “It’s just inspiring and we’re really grateful. You can see all the smiling faces from our staff and the community who are going to be able to get the benefit of this great refurbishment.”
There are about 13,000 presentations to the GPC each year – and about 25 per cent of them are children – so the waiting room was upgraded with them in mind.
It now includes a dedicated children’s area, with toys and activities, a TV and seating plus an under-the-sea themed mural on the wall selected by Kylie and Nick’s children.
The triage area has been enclosed and extended to provide greater privacy and improved access for patients during their initial assessment
And, the front reception desk is now positioned at the entrance to the GPC so staff are clearly visible and able to welcome both patients and visitors.
“The renovation will create a friendly and comfortable space for our patients. There’s a dedicated paediatric area with an activity corner. It will help patients to feel more at ease while waiting to receive care,” Nicole Stromsmoe, GPC’s Nursing Unit Manager, said.
It has benefits for doctors and nurses too.
“The triage area has been completely re-developed. We now have a purpose-built triage area. It’s a more appropriate space for clinical work,” Dr Owen Hutchings, GPC’s Director, said.
“The donation makes a big statement about how local residents view the hospital and how important GP Casualty is to the community,” Dr Hutchings said.
The hospital’s acting general manager Michael Morris said the whole team was excited about the re-designed GPC and appreciative of the Pagent family’s support.
“We’re committed to providing the best possible care for our patients. Donations help us to continue to deliver excellent clinical services to our community through improvements to our equipment and facilities,” Mr Morris said.
The GPC was temporarily relocated and remained open while the building works were carried out in late March and April.
The Pagent family didn’t seek public recognition but hope that by sharing their story others may be inspired to help their own local hospital.
“Our dream would be that the facility gets the recognition that it deserves. That it’s an inviting place for patients. And, that the beautiful and caring staff have a pleasant place to work,” Kylie said.
That dream is set to be fulfilled now that the new-look GPC has opened its doors.
To watch a video of the celebration of the redesigned GPC click here.
To view images from the official opening, please click here.