Creating precinct partnerships to solve global health challenges

21 Apr 2021
Nick Brooker and Zoe Terpening

NSW Health Infrastructure’s Senior Project Director Nick Brooker and UNSW Health Precincts’ Strategic Lead Dr Zoe Terpening share their two sides of the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct. ​

UNSW, together with Health Infrastructure (HI) and the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, are transforming healthcare through a $1.5 billion NSW Government investment in the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct.

The precinct’s vision is to be a transformative and collaborative place of excellence, solving global challenges to enhance and nurture lifelong health.

HI Senior Project Director Nick Brooker and UNSW Health Precincts’ Strategic Lead Dr Zoe Terpening share their two sides of this life changing project. ​

Nick Brooker joined the Randwick Campus Redevelopment (RCR) team just after the original announcement of $500 million for the Prince of Wales Hospital redevelopment in 2016.

“People often ask about RCR and I proudly say, RCR is more than just one project and is unlike any others,” says Nick.

“The existing Randwick Hospitals Campus has a history of over 160 years of care and includes four major hospitals – the public and private Prince of Wales Hospitals, The Royal Hospital for Women and the Sydney Children’s Hospital – as well as mental health services, UNSW and its research partners, and other Medical Research Institutes.

“As a result, it was necessary to take a holistic, integrated planning approach. This approach also demonstrated the need for additional investment to enable us to set up the campus for the future of health, education and research at Randwick.”

Nick says one of the major achievements of the RCR team has been successfully gaining broad recognition for the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct.

“The RCR team facilitated a precinct collaboration framework, which has enabled the partners to align project and funding objectives and better engage with the community around objectives which will yield significant economic benefits for Sydney’s Eastern City and NSW,” says Nick.

“The precinct approach promotes rapid, life-saving translation of research from in laboratories to the bedside. Active collaborations between clinicians, researchers, and industry will enable us to find solutions to real-world problems, within a timeframe that can make a real difference to patients.”

After planning and delivering a number of significant and successful rural projects for HI, Nick says he was attracted to the role at RCR because of the challenges of the project and the vision to which it aspired.

“Randwick is like no other HI project I have worked on,” he says. “I’m personally connected with this campus on a number of levels – it’s been my workplace and passion for the past six years but it’s also my local health service, my children were both born at the hospital, and I hope that one day they will be among the many who benefit from our work.”

Dr Zoe Terpening says the University is deeply committed to working in partnership with the stakeholders in the Randwick Precinct to deliver better healthcare for the future.

“The aim of the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct is to transform health in a way that responds to the needs of the community and the changing nature of healthcare,” says Zoe.

“As the health landscape continues to change, UNSW is committed to responding by working towards a uniquely integrated university hospital campus.

“UNSW is one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities and we’ve always had a strong partnership with the Randwick Health Campus.”

Zoe says the physical and working integration between the specialty hospitals on campus and UNSW is an important point of difference for the precinct.

“There is nowhere else in NSW where you’ll find a children’s hospital, a women’s hospital and an adult hospital physically connected to a Group of Eight university​,” says Zoe. 

“For the very first time, we’ll be able to share critical research infrastructure and have academics, clinicians and industry partners from diverse faculties working in partnership to solve the greatest health challenges.

“I often ask people if they themselves suffered from a novel virus like COVID-19, wouldn’t they want the brightest researchers and industry partners working together in the same building as the clinical staff that are caring for them? That’s the very intent of this precinct; it’s bringing everyone together so they can work in partnership to achieve better outcomes.”

Zoe says the opportunities that arise from health precinct partnerships are one of the most exciting aspects of her work.

“The precinct is far more than just the buildings. It’s about how we successfully transform and innovate as a team; that’s when I feel most satisfied by the work we are doing. 

“A health precinct isn’t just about partnerships. You can have lots of collaborative partnerships, but unless you are listening and responding to the needs of each of your stakeholders and being prepared to work towards the best interests of the precinct, even if this isn’t directly related to your own goals, you will miss the greatest opportunities.

“I also genuinely believe that the work we are doing will deliver better healthcare outcomes and patient experiences for all the people of NSW, so it’s a real privilege to play a small part in that.”

Learn more about the Randwick Campus Redevelopment and the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct or discover UNSW’s other health precincts.