MOUNT Druitt Hospital is in better health to take on more surgery.
Last week, the Sun toured the upgraded sterilisation unit, which opened on November 18.
The new unit, which has almost doubled in size, is designed for future expansion of surgery.
The two-and-a-half hour sterilisation process consists of three stages — clean, sterilise and pack.
First, equipment that can be reused is cleaned in a washer on a 50- to 60-minute cycle. The washers have done 261 loads in the first fortnight.
"The start of the process is the most important," sterilisation site co-ordinator Tracey Worthington said.
"If we can't clean the utensils properly, we can't sterilise efficiently."
The new sterilisers have done 220 loads.
The hospital has a new $124,000 steriliser for heat-sensitive equipment such as that used for breast surgery.
The equipment is then set up for theatre.
Better equipment has reduced the manual handling of equipment for the seven staff rostered on weekdays, 6am-8pm.
"It's better for staff and patients," Mrs Worthington said.
"It's a safer process and emphasises how conscious we are on infection control."
Blacktown-Mount Druitt Hospital transitional manager Peter Rophail added:
"It's a game changer for Mount Druitt Hospital. It gives us the capacity and capability to do a lot more in terms of future surgery."
An open day was recently held for hospital staff to check out the sterilisation unit.
"There were staff who have worked here for more than 30 years who had no idea what goes on there," Mr Rophail.
"They got to understand how the process works, which helps the sense of teamwork within the hospital."
He said other improvements at Mount Druitt would open before next Easter, including upgraded dental, rehabilitation and emergency departments.