SHAPE delivers dialysis clinic in Coober Pedy for Indigenous health organisation Purple House

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A dialysis clinic operated by Indigenous-run and owned organisation Purple House, designed and built using modular construction by SHAPE, has opened in Coober Pedy, South Australia, ensuring First Nations people can receive lifesaving dialysis treatment closer to their communities.

The Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, better known as Purple House, offers essential health services to remote Indigenous communities across the NT, WA and SA. With headquarters based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs), the organisation runs 20 remote clinics and is continuously expanding operations to provide services for new communities.

Sarah Brown AM, Purple House CEO, said the remote communities they serve require flexibility so that the right people can be in the right place at the right time. Providing healthcare on country supports the organisation’s purpose to provide culturally appropriate services which keep patients connected with their communities.

“Our mission is to provide a model of care based around family, country, and compassion. Instead of people having to leave their home permanently to seek treatment in Adelaide, Alice Springs, or Darwin, where they are dislocated from family and connection to country, remote dialysis units built through modular methods allow them to return home to visit family, and attend important cultural gatherings, funerals, and other business,” Sarah said.

SHAPE reviewed the client reference design in consultation with architecture firm Das Studio and quickly came up with a plan to convert the floorplan to a modular layout. Under a design and construct solution, SHAPE was able to collaborate closely with the client, implementing any changes required to meet their vision whilst also adhering to SA Health requirements and referring to the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines.

Modular construction also provided a quicker and more optimised construction timeline to ensure the client could start operations sooner, with construction taking place over a 16-week period, in which the team undertook a seamless transition from the design stage to the finished product. In SHAPE’s Adelaide modular manufacturing facility, six modules were constructed to form the clinic. The modules underwent rigorous quality control to provide a secure and reliable medical space for staff to attend to patients.

SHAPE completed site related works to prepare for the delivery of the modules, including footing construction, inground services installation and upgrades, carparking and pathways. The modules were then transported to Coober Pedy and craned into position. Following the instillation and commissioning of the modules, landscaping works were completed to wrap up the final stages of the project.

The facility incorporates multiple features, such as capacity for four treatment bays, a nurses’ station, kitchenette, laundry amenities, multi-functional storage, and a water treatment room with equipment such as storage tanks, brine pumps and chillers.

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Sarah Brown AM, Purple House CEO, said the remote communities they serve require flexibility so that the right people can be in the right place at the right time. Providing healthcare on country supports the organisation’s purpose to provide culturally appropriate services which keep patients connected with their communities.

Ryan Brown, Strategic Director – Modular at SHAPE, said “This project was very significant for SHAPE as it highlights the importance of utilising modern methods of construction to deliver vital community infrastructure in Australia’s remote locations. We are also very proud to be able to support Purple House to continue their mission of providing lifesaving treatment to First Nations people without them having to travel long distances from family and country.

“Congratulations to the modular team at SHAPE, our subcontractors and consultants including Das Studio, MLEI and BCA Engineers, who did a fantastic job on delivering the project. The construction process was seamless because of the team’s professionalism and ability to work together under a short timeframe.”

SHAPE is currently designing three more remote renal dialysis clinics for Purple House, including nurses’ accommodation. These sites are located in Yalata (South Australia), Balgo (Western Australia) and Atitjere (Northern Territory), with construction set to commence in September 2024.