Knox Emergency Centre, Melbourne

Knox is a comprehensive 200-bed hospital in the affluent eastern suburbs of Melbourne owned by Australian Hospital Care, a listed major health corporation. It was purchased from other corporate operators in 1988. Occupancy and casemix was poor and it was in financial difficulties.

The previous operators had added many "add on" services which were causing a major financial drain on its core business. One of these was an emergency service run on contract with a local University Dept of General Practice. It had been open since early 1987 but had not progressed at all and was losing a fortune. Admissions were running at only about 50 per month.

The ICU was in a similar position. Phillip Kay was sent down firstly to do feasibility and options study for both units for the new owners. The outcome was a major restructure, remodelling and re-launch of the service as a "proper Emergency Centre".

New doctors were recruited and a fee for service business model was introduced. All staff were trained extensively in marketing and customer service principles. The unit exploded and pushed the occupancy to maximum. The hospital has been extended on several occasions but the EC has always surpassed the building speed.

It is one of the busiest units in Australia heading towards 30,000 attendances. It is run by VEMA an associate group on a fee for service contract with the hospital. Two of the principals through a new company have taken over management of the Cabrini Emergency Centre in Melbourne. Impact's involvement was from 88 to 98 ie design, development, growth and consolidation.