$470,000 kitchen overhaul

The kitchen at Laura Hospital has received a well-deserved upgrade, the first of its kind since the hospital opened in 1938. 

UPGRADE: Tanya Dwyer, Hayley Smart-Foster, Brian Higgins, Geoff Dickin and Julie Arthur in the new kitchen at Laura Hospital.

UPGRADE: Tanya Dwyer, Hayley Smart-Foster, Brian Higgins, Geoff Dickin and Julie Arthur in the new kitchen at Laura Hospital.

The Southern Flinders Health Advisory Council put $470,000 towards the project which saw the entire kitchen refurbished, a new cool room and new freezer room. 

Since the project completion in 2017, staff have noticed an improved flow in the kitchen, something highly valued by the kitchen staff. 

Yet the large scale renovation was not an over night project, for several years the HAC saved the money which was bequeathed from a local farmer in quarterly payments and once an appropriate plan had been drawn up, they went ahead with the project. 

Presiding member for the Southern Flinders Brian Higgins says the renovations have been a long time coming, especially due to a setback they had to face in 2015. 

“It has been a work in progress, in 2015 we got serious about it and then we didn’t have enough money and as it turned out, we had a major water leak, that held us up for quite a few months, it flooded half of the building and gave us a bit more time to build up our funds.”

“Then we thought lets have another go at doing things properly. It was a blessing in disguise that we got held up.” 

The planning process for the kitchen was lengthy and involved the staff visiting several other industrial kitchens, in addition to receiving professional advice from successful kitchens in the region. 

All parties are pleased with the end result and Julie Arthur the executive officer and director of nursing for Laura and Booleroo Hospitals says that the kitchen staff are satisfied and all standards have been passed. 

“The flow is exceptional, you have to have a proper flow when you have an industrial kitchen. It passes all food safety standards and takes us well into the future. It will be meeting standards right into the foreseeable future, so an excellent result for Laura.”

“The previous kitchen, whilst we were passing food safety standards there were recommendations that we needed to change some things in the kitchen. The range hood wasn’t meeting the requirements. I really do think at first it was a difficult flow for the kitchen staff, they were doing an amazing job but it was difficult. For us to meet the standards in the future, that kitchen would not have done it.”

The kitchen is being successfully used on a full-time basis, and staff are overcoming any present teething issues. “I want to thank the HAC because they have also had many community donations. We are very mindful of making sure those funds are spent wisely and directly on the hospital. We are very thankful”, Julie said.