Ipswich Hospital Launches SCOUT, a Revolutionary Breast Cancer Saviour

Ipswich Hospital has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first public facility in the state to initiate trials of an innovative breast cancer technology known as SCOUT. This breakthrough technology is being hailed as “revolutionary” and promises to redefine breast cancer surgery, offering hope to patients and medical practitioners alike.

A New Era for Breast Cancer Treatment at Ipswich Hospital

In a pioneering move, Ipswich Hospital has commenced trials of the SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Localisation System. The primary objective of this cutting-edge technology is to assist surgeons in precisely locating breast cancers during surgical procedures, significantly reducing the likelihood of missing cancerous tissue, and thereby enhancing patient outcomes.

The introduction of the SCOUT technology has already begun to make a positive impact on breast cancer patients like Tarampa resident Cathy Grant. For many patients, the traditional hookwire procedure on the day of surgery can be distressing and uncomfortable. However, with SCOUT, patients can now avoid this discomfort, as Ms. Grant attested.

How SCOUT Works

The SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Localisation System represents a significant advancement in the treatment and surgical management of breast cancer. Here’s an overview of the technology behind it and how it benefits both doctors and patients:

Technology Overview

  • Radar Localization: The SCOUT system utilises a unique radar signal to locate a reflector, which is about the size of a grain of rice, implanted in the breast tissue. This reflector can be placed at any time during treatment, well before the surgical procedure.
  • True Distance Measurement: It offers true distance measurement capabilities, which help overcome challenges associated with estimating tumor depth and location during surgery. This is particularly useful in supine surgical procedures where the breast anatomy can shift, making precise localisation critical.

Benefits for Doctors and Patients

  • Eliminates Wire Localisation: Traditionally, wire localisation was used to mark a tumor’s location before surgery, which could cause discomfort and anxiety for patients. The SCOUT system eliminates the need for this by using the radar-localized reflector.
  • Increased Precision and Flexibility: By providing accurate, real-time localisation of the tumor, SCOUT allows surgeons to precisely target and remove the tumor while minimizing the removal of healthy tissue. This precision supports better cosmetic outcomes and potentially reduces the need for additional surgeries.
  • Enhanced Patient Comfort and Experience: Since the reflector can be placed well in advance of the surgery and does not require the physical presence of a wire protruding from the skin, patients experience less discomfort and anxiety leading up to their procedure.
  • Operational Efficiency: The ability to place the reflector at any point during treatment and its compatibility with various imaging modalities (like mammography) streamlines the surgical process, making it more efficient and flexible for healthcare providers.

Successful Trial Launch at Ipswich Hospital

The SCOUT Wire-Free Radar Localisation System was initially trialled in December 2023, marking the commencement of a 10-patient trial. Dr. Susan Bell, a breast and endocrine surgeon at the hospital, emphasized the potential benefits for patients’s comfort and the surgery’s success.

Compared to the existing hookwire procedure, SCOUT offers several advantages. Patients no longer require wire insertion shortly before surgery, eliminating the need for both a radiologist and a surgeon on the day of the operation. Dr Bell said that SCOUT is also faster and more efficient than current surgical methods. 

With the introduction of SCOUT technology at Ipswich Hospital, the landscape of breast cancer treatment is undergoing a significant transformation.

Published 7-Feb-2024

Stage 2 of $710-M Ipswich Hospital Expansion Awarded

Construction on the $710-million Ipswich Hospital is now one step closer to completion as Stage 2 of the project, expected to add 200 beds and 1,700 construction jobs to the region, is awarded to BESIX Watpac.

Read: New Building With Childcare Centre, Commercial Spaces Proposed For Brisbane Street Ipswich

Ipswich Hospital Stage 2
Photo credit: Sybille Goss/Google Maps

Local officials highlighted the comprehensive nature of the expansion, which includes not only the 200 new beds but also a new Emergency Department, purpose-built acute clinical service building, six extra operating theatres, a satellite medical imaging service, and a new Central Sterilisation Service Department.

The project is particularly signigicant for the expansion of healthcare services in the region. It is expected to be fully operational by 2027. Local authorities emphasised the short-term benefits for local businesses and suppliers who eagerly anticipate the opportunity to be part of such a significant project. 

“It is critical that Queensland Health and BESIX Watpac Qld ensure that our local businesses and suppliers receive orders and that they are informed and given the opportunity to bid for subcontracts, rather than the jobs and work leaving the Ipswich region,” Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said.

Ipswich Hospital Stage 2
Photo credit: Sybille Goss/Google Maps

The State is currently overseeing the $146.3 million Ipswich Hospital Stage 1 upgrade project, which is set to be completed in late 2023. This project includes the establishment of an Acute Mental Health Unit, an MRI suite, a 26-bed medical and surgical ward, and a transit lounge for the local community. Additionally, a new Satellite Hospital in Ripley is scheduled to open later in 2023.

Councillor Nicole Jonic, Chair of the Economic and Industry Development Committee, highlighted the direct benefits that the hospital expansion program will bring to the Ipswich industry. 

“Health care and social assistance is one of Ipswich’s core industries, with 17 percent of our region’s workers employed in the sector,” Cr Jonic said.

Read: Opening Soon in Springfield: Innovative Mater Health Hub for the Whole Family

Construction of the Ipswich Hospital Stage 2 expansion would commence by 2024 and is anticipated to be complete by 2027.

Published 8-June-2023

New Ipswich Hospital Ward on Track for Completion

The Ipswich community will soon benefit from the much-needed redevelopment at the Ipswich Hospital as the first new ward to be built in seven years is on track for its targeted completion date.

The new 26-bed medical and surgical ward, which falls under West Moreton Health’s 15-year Master Plan, is set to open in September 2021. The new facility includes a patient transit lounge, which goes in line with the hospital’s patient-centred care. 

This project is part of Stage 1 of the Ipswich Hospital Expansion following the opening of the Oncology Day Unit in April and the Allied Health Services – Outpatients area in May.

Photo Credit: Paynters

Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath, Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard and Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum visited the site at the end of May to check the development’s progress and was met by West Moreton Health Chief Executive Dr Kerrie Freeman. 

“These expansion projects will make a significant difference to the patients in our care,” Dr Freeman said. 

“The master-planned Ipswich Hospital Precinct is vital to ensuring we meet the health needs of West Moreton residents now and into the future in a safe and sustainable way as we move towards becoming a tertiary hospital.”

Construction for the Ipswich Hospital ward started in mid-2020 and was projected to be ready before the flu season. 

“It will help meet a rapid growth in demand and will mean more patients from the region can be treated closer to home,” Ms Howard said. 

Construction Begins for $91 Million Acute Mental Health Unit in Ipswich Hospital

Work on a 50-bed Acute Mental Health Unit (AMHU) will start at West Moreton Health amidst the government’s commitment to expand the Ipswich hospital precinct.

The AMHU, which is part of the Stage 1 expansion and was funded $91 million, is set for construction in mid-April 2021 with a projected opening date for late 2022. Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath confirmed that BESIX Watpac will build the three-storey facility. 

Designed with three courtyards for the patients and their families, the mental health unit will also be surrounded by native trees, shrubs and a bush tucker garden. 

“When staff and consumers transition to the new building, the existing mental health unit at the hospital will be demolished,” Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said. “An enclosed overhead bridge will link the new facility with Ipswich Hospital for the safe movement of patients, staff and equipment.

“The demolition will free up valuable land on the hospital site for future expansion and development of the Ipswich Hospital Precinct.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Apart from the construction of AMHU, the project has moved on to the business case study of Stage 2 of the master plan, putting West Moreton Health a step closer to reaching its goals to provide person-centred care as Ipswich’s population increases.

Experts predict that in 15 years, more than half a million people will consider West Moreton in Ipswich their home, doubling the region’s current population.

“The Palaszczuk Government has invested more than $146.3 million over 5 years for Stage 1 of the master-planned expansion of Ipswich Hospital and related health services to meet the needs of the fast-growing region,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Delivering the master-planned Ipswich Health Precinct has been a top priority for the Palaszczuk Government because it means that locals will have improved access to top-quality healthcare and create local jobs along the way.”

New 50-Bed Acute Mental Health Facility to Rise at Ipswich Hospital

As part of the West Moreton Health Master Plan, a new 50-bed mental health unit will be built on the site across from Ipswich Hospital. 

The new facility, which will be bounded by Chelmsford and Kallara avenues and Walker Street, will be connected to Ipswich Hospital via an enclosed overhead bridge. 

Aurecon has been appointed as manager of the project, which has been described as a state-of-the-art mental health care facility. The project manager has proven experience in health facilities in the state. Their past projects included Longreach Hospital, the Emergency Unit at Gladstone Hospital, Queensland Children’s Hospital, and the Roma Hospital redevelopment. 

Acute Mental Health Unit

The new mental health unit at Ipswich Hospital aims to provide health care services that will promote the mental wellbeing and mindfulness of the patients. The design offers a residential feel, with easy access to the courtyards, gardens, and outdoor areas

Demolition of the seven properties on the site will happen in July 2020 to prepare the site for cleaning and early works. The actual construction will commence in early 2021, and the project is expected to be completed by late 2022. The project is projected to generate 100 jobs during the construction period. 

The project is part of the $146.3-million commitment of the Queensland Government to the Master Plan to meet the infrastructure demand of the health sector in Ipswich. This master plan also includes the addition of a new high-tech MRI at Ipswich Hospital, a new 26-bed ward in the Ipswich Hospital Ward Block, and the acquisition of land for future Ipswich Health Precinct Stage 2. 

The MRI suite opened in December 2019 to provide quick diagnosis of life-threatening diseases. It also means that people in Ipswich will no longer need to travel outside to access this type of service. 

The new Ipswich Hospital ward will increase capacity at the hospital in anticipation of the population doubling by 2036.