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Vienna General Hospital: joint investment in the future of cutting-edge medicine

Stage 2 of Vienna General Hospital construction projects underway – first projects already in train – a total of 28 projects by 2030 – total investment of €1.4 billion
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Bild: PID/Kromus
v.l.n.r.: Stadtrat Peter Hacker, AKH-Direktor Herwig Wetzlinger und Vizerektor Oswald Wagner

(Vienna, 15 November 2019) A comprehensive joint investment plan to renovate Vienna General Hospital and the Medical University of Vienna was agreed in January 2016. The plan covers the period up until 2030 and is intended to meet the future requirements for medical and nursing care and the university’s research and education functions as efficiently as possible. "Following extensive planning work, Stage 2 is now fully underway. This started with the extension of Child and Adolescent psychiatry and has now moved on to extension of the outpatient areas of the Cardiac and Thoracic Center," explains Vienna City Councillor for Health, Peter Hacker, in a joint press conference held with the Director of Vienna General Hospital, Herwig Wetzlinger and Vice Rector of MedUni Vienna, Oswald Wagner.

"Vienna General Hospital is at the heart of healthcare in the Austrian capital and the entire country. Medical excellence is delivered here every day. These investments will further enhance the global reputation that this hospital, with its outstanding doctors, nurses and technicians, has earned over the decades and will guarantee the residents of Vienna and the entire Austrian population top-quality medical care, without additional insurance and without any extra charges," says Hacker.

The Austrian Government and the City of Vienna signed the so-called Framework Building Contract (RBV) on joint financing of the structural and functional modifications. This Framework Building Contract covers 28 projects running up until 2030, with a total investment of around €1.4 billion, 60% of which will be provided by the City of Vienna and 40% by the Federal Government.

Subheading: Building work already underway
The first project of the Framework Building Contract, namely extension of the space available for treating children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders, was submitted in February 2019. The alterations will be completed in June 2020, providing a hospital of the very latest standard, including green areas for patients. The extension of the outpatient area of the Cardiac and Thoracic Center is nearing completion. Areas that had housed now-outmoded technologies were used to gain additional outpatient areas for this wide-ranging discipline. This will improve process flows for pre- and post-operative care of surgical patients and alleviate the pressure on space.

Other building projects already underway are the renovation of the production kitchen by June 2020, in order to maintain the highest quality of catering for patients and staff, and renovation of the production area for Vienna General Hospital's drug dispensary by 2021. The aim is also to maintain a high international standard in the production of drugs that are customised to the needs of individual patients. "In one of the largest hospitals in Europe, it is a constant challenge to carry out all the alterations without impinging upon the routine, day-to-day operating processes that are necessary to provide high-quality, round-the-clock care for our patients with highly complex diseases," says Herwig Wetzlinger, Director of Vienna General Hospital.

Further projects over the coming years
One of the largest projects will be establishing the Parent-Child Center and the full expansion of the so-called South Garden clinics, including the paediatric surgical unit. Paediatric patients, including those in neonatology, paediatric surgery and obstetrics, will benefit from the shorter treatment pathways and ultramodern infrastructure that this will provide. This is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Another priority is the modernisation of the Level 09 operating theatre, together with restructuring of the surgical unit, optimised logistical processes and installation of the very latest technologies for specific surgical areas, as well as the conversion of the emergency medicine and trauma surgery outpatient clinics, including acute care areas, to improve routing for ambulant patients and those on trolleys.

To improve the care of in-patients, it is planned to modernise the wards and update the infrastructure, which will also include converting the current 3-bed rooms into 2-bed rooms with a feel-good factor. Alterations to the red ward block (East) will start in 2023.

New research centers for the medicine of the future
In one of the largest investment projects, the Medical University of Vienna is going to build three centres on its Vienna General Hospital campus, specially designed for 21st century medicine: the Center for Precision Medicine, the Center for Translational Medicine and Therapies and the Center for Technology Transfer. All three centres are to be built and commissioned in the coming years. MedUni Vienna has started a fundraising campaign for the Center for Precision Medicine, which also raises public awareness about precision medicine – the major trend in the medicine of the future. Over the next few years, it is also going to build a new, ultra-modern research building for the surgical units to replace the current research areas in the central building, which will be converted into a day surgery unit.

"The proximity of the research centres to Vienna General Hospital will be a great advantage to our patients," explains Oswald Wagner, MedUni Vienna's Vice Rector for Clinical Matters. "Doctors and experts in basic research will be working together on the same site to develop the very latest knowledge, so that patients can be treated using state-of-the-art medicine."