Pindara Emergency Centre, Benowa, Gold Coast

Pindara is a comprehensive 200-bed hospital 4km west of Surfers Paradise owned by Australian Hospital Care, a listed major health corporation. It was purchased from family operators in 1986. At this point it was in major need of refurbishment and development. Occupancy and casemix was poor. AHC bought it for its potential. The first year was spent on refurbishment. The Emergency Centre was opened on the 7th of Dec 87 with Phillip Kay as the Director. He resigned his public sector Director position to set up the first specialist led private hospital based emergency service in Australia.

The whole concept of private emergency medicine was new and like all new ideas was met with resistance and fear. Resistance from the public sector as they thought it was a silly idea, and fear from the GP's who were very concerned as to the effect it would have on their practices. Specialists were very supportive as were the ambulance who knew all the doctors in the group from their previous public hospital positions.

The concept was supported formally by the AMA Gold Coast branch. The project was an outstanding success providing the hospital with volume and casemix it had never seen. New services and specialties were added as the EC grew. The hospital was originally approx 110 beds and has since doubled in size. The emergency unit has grown strongly since opening, never taking a backward step despite both of the competing hospitals in the region opening up emergency centres in direct competition. Pindara remains by far the busiest centre in the city.

The emergency centre is run on contract by Emergency Medical Group Pty Ltd a company of doctors who provide the medical staffing and management of the centre including practice manager, computing, and all financials. The centre provides over half of the occupancy of the hospital and is growing strongly in double-digit figures. Phillip Kay resigned as Director in late 98 to move to Brisbane for other projects.