Peter Mac News


New unit to bridge the gap between wards and Intensive Care

2 min read 24 March 2023

Patients at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will soon have access to increased care and support, with the creation of a new Enhanced Care Unit (ECU).

Acute Care Specialist, Dr Ian Richardson, said the new six-bed ward would provide additional monitoring and care for cancer patients with more complex needs.

“The Enhanced Care Unit is not a substitute for Intensive Care but it fills a gap, allowing us to match patients with the most appropriate environment depending on their individual care needs,” Dr Richardson said.

“By offering this intermediate level of care, Peter Mac can safely care for higher acuity patients onsite while freeing up intensive care beds for patients who most need them.”

The Enhanced Care Unit, which has the support of the Victorian Department of Health, will be co-located with Peter Mac’s operating suite, with dedicated medical, nursing, allied health and pharmacy staff. Recruitment is currently underway for each of these positions.

Dr Richardson, who has recently been in the UK and Europe reviewing high acuity models of care, said international examples have highlighted the benefit of the Enhanced Care Unit model.

“Some of our patients require a higher level of care than our medical and surgical wards are designed to offer, so we rely on our close relationship with the Royal Melbourne Hospital to ensure these patients are cared for safely,” Dr Richardson said.

“The establishment of an Enhanced Care Unit will provide a specialised environment that offers our patients another layer of monitoring and support without the need for them to be transferred to another hospital.

“This is an exciting announcement for patients and staff, and will help us deliver even better personalised care for our patients.”

Close monitoring following complex surgery is one of the main drivers of good patient outcomes and Peter Mac’s Enhanced Care Unit will give cancer patients at Peter Mac improved access to cardiorespiratory and cardiac support.

“The Enhanced Care Unit will help ensure our medical and surgical patients get the right level of care as quickly as possible, reducing the risk of complications after surgery as well as caring for unwell patients presenting for care at any time,” Dr Richardson said.

Explore roles in the Enhanced Care Unit. 

For media enquiries, please contact the Peter Mac Communications team on 0417 123 048