AUDIT, ASSESS and trial: how FF&E supports redevelopment

Furniture, Fittings and Equipment Officer, Tracy Curness

The procurement of essential hospital equipment and medical infrastructure is a critical role in the delivery of any hospital service.

Furniture, Fittings and Equipment (FF&E) encompasses everything from tap fittings and office furniture, to patient beds, industrial dishwashers and even cancer therapy machines and laminar flows used to maintain a sterile environment during the compounding of patient medication.

Tracy Curness is the FF&E Project Officer for the Campbelltown Hospital redevelopment project.

Tracy has worked for NSW Health for more than 15 years, and holds exceptional knowledge of the operational needs of a hospital and understands the complexities of patient care.

Since joining the team 18 months ago, Tracy has supported the delivery of the new Drug Health Unit, the upgraded Pharmacy and Stage 2 Kitchen. She is currently fitting out the new General Manager’s Unit and Allied Health administration hub.

Tracy is also currently completing an equipment audit of outstanding departments that will occupy the new 12-storey clinical services building currently under construction.

“FF&E can have a significant impact on the delivery of patient care and the execution of models of care,” she said.

“My role is to manage the best outcome of hospital procurement by evaluating suitability of design, functionality, warranty and cost of equipment.

“I do this through stakeholder engagement, consulting with working groups and working closely with the designers, end users and the project team to conduct audits and risk assessments, equipment trials, and fit for use assessments prior to selection.”

Tracy said the scope of the FF&E role was an expanding one that required great attention to detail.

“Items need to be selected to support the building design, in terms of aesthetics and material,” she said.

For example; consideration must even be given to the wheel specifications of an office chair as this can change depending on WHS and the floor coverings in that space. Similarly, items like patient hoists for instance must fit adequately over beds and baths, and through doorways.

“Therefore I spend a significant amount of my time reviewing floor plans, scrutinising space limitations and consulting with designers and stakeholders to ensure the correct item is sourced to meet the needs of the end user.”

Tracy said the procurement of some internationally sourced items had been impacted by the current pandemic, but delivery was still on schedule and aligned with the construction programme.