Shining beacon for healthcare

Dr Deric and Mrs Tanya de Wit at the former Gawler gas works site, where construction will begin on the Gawler Private Day Hospital this month.

On a site that once fuelled the gas lanterns of Gawler, 10 Seventh Street is once again poised to play a part in history, as the region’s first private day hospital begins construction this month.

The project is the vision of Tanunda residents, Dr Deric and Mrs Tanya de Wit, owners of Barossa Eye Clinic, a private ophthalmology clinic on Gawler’s High Street.

It’s a project several years in the making for the passionate couple, who believe they are the right “mix” to take on such a visionary project, with their respective business and medical backgrounds.

“It’s an investment from us and we are driven by the belief we are the right people in the right place at the right time to make it happen,” said Tanya.

“It’s been a mission, but a good one.”

The multi-million dollar, single-storey, one theatre hospital will provide state of the art equipment and technologies, as well as a bespoke patient recovery area, dedicated admission area, off-street parking for over 40 cars, ambulance bay and drop off area.

It will also be fully equipped to cater for most specialised surgical services, and offer local IV sedation and general anaesthetics. 

“Along with ophthalmology, the hospital will provide safe and affordable same day surgery for adults in plastic and reconstructive, oral and maxillofacial, ear, nose and throat, urology, dental, general, orthopaedic and gynaecology surgeries,” Tanya explained.

With about 70 percent of Dr de Wit’s patients living in the Barossa, being able to offer the opportunity for them to have surgery closer to home is paramount.

“We find that it works brilliantly when you have consultation and surgery under the same roof, it just relieves a whole other swathe of stress, not only for the patient, but for their families because of transport,” he said.

“It’s a whole new ball game in terms of bringing up Gawler and helping the people in this region.”

The de Wits are hopeful to work alongside SA Health to ensure public patients also benefit from the new day hospital.

“We will be continuing to offer our resources, meaning my time, staff time, this new hospital, all of it, whatever care is needed, public or private, will be available if they want to utilise it,” said Dr de Wit.

The heritage aspect of the location is just as important to the de Wits, with the historic 1869 gas works’ “Retort House” at the back of the site to be completely restored as part of the project.

Whilst it won’t form part of the hospital building itself, it will be preserved for a future use, yet to be determined.

Salvaged bricks from some of the other crumbling structures on site will be used to help construct the hospital, and the stone wall along the street line will be saved, tying in old with new.

“We do have a beautiful heritage, we should focus on what we have and be proud of it,” said Dr de Wit.

“I think when you have a building going up like this which totally fits in with the area in a medical precinct, it just brings a level of esteem to the whole area.”

The de Wits are pleased to be able to offer part of a solution for better and more accessible healthcare for a growing region.

“We wanted to pursue something meaningful and robust to enhance clinical care locally for years to come,” Dr de Wit said.

The hospital is expected to be completed by July, 2022.

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