THINKING INSIDE THE BOX
New Zealand’s first Modular O.R – Churchill Private Hospital, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand – opened June 2018.
The project to build a new operating theatre at Blenheim’s Churchill Private Hospital was well down the track. The plans were only a few weeks from the consenting stage. The staff and surgical team knew exactly what they wanted.
And then they were introduced to something entirely different: images of a state-of-the-art facility, enclosed by glass walls, colourful and calming, spacious and functional.
It was an image of a new operating theatre designed using modular construction, found throughout the UK and Europe. They found Opritech NZ Limited of Nelson who is the only company that designs, customises, and installs the Modular O.R system.
MODULAR IN EVERY SENSE
As soon as the appointed designer Mark Hawkins saw the proposed theatre, he got excited.
“We were all ready to go, and then we saw Opritech’s Modular O.R. I compared the costs to a conventional theatre and yes, we would pay a bit more, but not a significant amount more. When you factor in the long-term flexibility provided by the modular concept, we decided it was worth it to get a higher quality product that would allow Churchill Trust to adapt as technologies improved into the future. The numbers more than added up to an overall long-term benefit.”
The walls are made from glass panels that can be easily re-configured. All the services are located inside the panels so you can add new services and technologies and even reconfigure the layout of the theatre by removing individual panels and adding walls to expand.
“You don’t have to tear down or rebuild anything. It’s adaptable and it just made sense.”
That’s what the Churchill Trust thought as well, says Nicki Stretch, Churchill’s General Manager.
“The idea that we could significantly reduce maintenance time by removing the glass panels or that we could add new technology as it became available really swayed our Board. In a practical sense, whenever we need to undertake maintenance or install new technology, we don’t have to shut down the theatre for extended periods so there’s minimal disruption to our surgical team.”
THE ANTI-BACTERIAL GLASS SHINES
Mark says that the glass panel system is hermetically sealed with neoprene gaskets and the glass surfaces are easy to clean. And, with a silver ion embedded lining on the back of the glass panels, the combined benefit is an ultra-hygienic space that destroys 99.99% of dangerous bacteria.
“The smooth, clean walls are attractive and colourful, but they serve a key purpose. Everything about this design says sterile work environment. It was the idea of reducing infection potential that sold the Board the most.”
Nicki felt similarly. “Patient care and improved surgical outcomes are of paramount importance to us. Not only does this theatre mean our surgical team can work in an ultra-sterile environment, the potential for intra-operative infection is significantly reduced.”
FIRST AND ONLY IN NEW ZEALAND
Opritech delivered New Zealand’s first modular theatre to Churchill. CEO Brett McLean says his team has the perfect training and expertise and they are uniquely suited to introduce this product to the market.
“Our team includes electrical engineers, an electronics specialist, a mechanical engineer, builders, and we all have different degrees of biomedical training. I think we really proved ourselves with our first Modular O.R and we’re excited to show off a more modern, sterile, and attractive facility to other hospitals – both in concept and in practice at Churchill.”
Nicki Stretch says she valued the expertise Opritech brought to the job.
“The whole team is extremely capable and committed. Our Board was keen to have local people who stand behind what they do. The last thing you want is to have an issue and your large, international supplier can’t provide timely service. We need to keep running and Opritech’s Modular O.R is installed and supported by a Kiwi company that knows their stuff.
“And, there’s no denying it, the Board thought having the first Modular O.R in New Zealand would be simply incredible.”
Churchill Private Hospital is owned by the Churchill Trust but is run by Wairau Hospital.
"Churchill’s Modular O.R is such a pleasant working environment"
“Churchill’s Modular O.R is such a pleasant working environment. It has clean lines, recessed monitors, desks and workbenches built into the walls, no clutter … and the glass. It’s the highlight of the space to have a colourful room and a bright, beautiful image of our Marlborough Sounds that draws wows from patients and staff. Patients say it’s more comfortable and calming to focus their attention on the image. Staff say they find solace resting their eyes on it during a long day. We couldn’t be more satisfied with the end result.”
Hospital Manager, Churchill Private Hospital
"their knowledge of all these services is phenomenal"
“In a normal build, you’d have a lot of tradespeople working amongst a lot of chaos. They’d be alongside the specialist services like medical gases, air, electrical, and others. Lots of people cramped into one space to build it. But Modular OR doesn’t work that way. All of the services are in the wall cavities so each tradesperson does their own thing in a separate area. Then Opritech comes in and their knowledge of all these services is phenomenal. They pull everything together and install the fittings, the fixtures, and finalise the fit-off inside the theatre. It was unreal, their contribution. It made the project simpler.”
Designer, Hawkins Architecture
"a contemporary, crisp, professional space that is a pleasure to work in.”
“I work in both theatres at Wairau and the Modular OR theatre feels airy, clean, and less cluttered. There’s no doubt the glass walls and the centre [mount] pendant has made floor trolleys obsolete, gives the space an openness that makes it feel vastly bigger. It’s a contemporary, crisp, professional space that is a pleasure to work in.”