A temporary operating theatre provided to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, one of the country’s largest and most respected hospitals, enabled surgeons to complete what is believed to be a world first – undertaking open heart surgery in a mobile operating theatre environment.

The temporary laminar flow theatre was installed last year after a storm damaged one of the hospital’s primary theatres. Professor Paul Myles, the hospital’s Director of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, described the solution as “innovative” and said the installation of the theatre saved numerous patients from waiting weeks or months for their procedures.

The theatre was supplied by Q-bital Healthcare Solutions and 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.

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 straightforward 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 to my knowledge in the world.”

While the space was used almost exclusively for cardiac procedures, staff at the hospital agreed it could be used for myriad other procedure types.

The theatre remained at The Alfred until repair work was completed on the hospital’s cardiac theatre. From there, it will move around Australia to meet the needs of hospitals and health systems elsewhere.

Q-bital designs and builds mobile healthcare solutions, including laminar flow theatres, which are used throughout the world to create extra capacity for hospitals who may be refurbishing or updating their facilities or following an emergency. It also provides mobile endoscopy units, wards and central sterilisation departments, which are all demountable mobile facilities, and can be transported by land and sea.

Steven Peak, Delivery and Development Director at Q-bital, said: “We are 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 that offers flexibility and portability for hospitals who perhaps need an extra operating theatre in a location that didn’t need it in the past.”

Q-bital Healthcare Solutions, now established and based in Australia, is a provider of flexible temporary healthcare infrastructure. Its parent, Vanguard Healthcare Solutions, is headquartered in the UK and has partnered with healthcare providers globally for almost 20 years.

To find out more about the project, please contact Peter Spryszynski, Country Manager for Australia, on +61 (0) 7 3554 1022.