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(Vienna, 15 September 2010) The topping-out ceremony for the new paediatric operation centre of MedUni Vienna at the Vienna General Hospital AKH is kicking off a new era for paediatrics in Vienna: next year, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the first Austrian paediatric centre will be opened in autumn.

In recent years, MedUni Vienna has continuously made efforts to realise Austria's first paediatric centre. With the new appointments of Prof. Günther Laufer (cardiac surgery) and Univ. Prof. Dr. Ina Michel-Behnke (paediatric cardiology) competences in the field of children's heart diseases were expanded. It was only in spring 2010 that St. Anna Children's Hospital was integrated into the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine of MedUni Vienna as the fifth division. Says Univ. Prof. Dr. Arnold Pollak, visionary and pioneer of the Paediatric Centre from the early days: "With today's topping-out ceremony we are coming a major step closer to our vision of pooling all our medical competence in paediatric medicine in one centre for the first time. For me it is a personal success that the work of many years to open such a medical competence centre for children has finally paid off."

Focal points of construction
In his speech Rector Univ. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schütz highlighted the importance of the new building for teaching and research: "From the autumn of 2011 onwards all disciplines will be found under one roof so that both interdisciplinary research and the training of students will benefit directly." The Paediatric Centre is just one of several new buildings being opened at MedUni Vienna: in the summer the Center of Translational Research – Anna Spiegel Research Building was already given a celebratory opening; in the autumn of 2011 the new University Department of Dentistry will also be opened in Währingerstrasse. "This shows that MedUni Vienna is making the ninth district a haven of high medico-scientific standards and top-level medicine," concludes Schütz.

Benefits for patients
"The new Paediatric Centre at the Vienna General Hospital AKH will further improve the care of children and adolescents. All the relevant divisions are located close to each other and quickly accessible, this facilitates communication among the treating staff and shortens the distances the young patients and their parents have to travel," explained Health City Councillor Ms Wehsely.

Functional areas
In a first phase, among other areas, the Division of Paediatric Surgery will be located in the new building with an operating theatre and a normal nursing ward as well as Children's Radiology.  Since October 2009 the outpatient clinic of the Division of Paediatric Surgery has been situated together with the outpatient clinics of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in the building of the Paediatric Clinic. The normal nursing ward of the Division of Paediatric Surgery, which is currently found in the green building, will be transferred to the new building section with 21 beds. All patient rooms (single and double rooms) will also be mother-and-child rooms.

The new operating theatre will have two surgery rooms with the required infrastructure and adjoining rooms. The area will comprise a Perioperative Care Unit (PCU) with three places, which will also be used for treating patients from the day clinic, and a recovery room with six places, two of which will be equipped as intensive care places for an interim period. In addition an endoscopy area will also be created.

Accessibility and connections
Patients and visitors will reach the new building via the main entrance of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Paediatric Clinic) and a connecting bridge to the entrance area / foyer on Level 05. In addition, the new building will be connected with the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine via connecting bridges and an underground passage. For the staff a connecting bridge to the duty room building in Borschkegasse will be built.