Darwin Day Surgery opens it’s new premises

The new Darwin Day Surgery located within the Casuarina Health Precinct opened it’s doors in October 2012, offering Territorians greater access to the optimal healthcare services they deserve.

Darwin Day Surgery is the brainchild of registered nurses Maureen Schaffer and Joanne Kovac, who teamed up with Darwin’s only resident plastic surgeon, Dr Ravi Mahajani, in 2007 to open the first free-standing day-care surgery in the NT. They quickly outgrew the original premises at Fannie Bay as the local community flocked towards their level of personalised care. “Our aim has always been to provide a really high standard of service to Territorians through intimate and personalised care”, says Maureen, who has 20 years’ theatre experience. An additional 20 staff have been handpicked from the best in the field to join the Darwin Day Surgery team. In an industry that struggles to find nursing staff they have a waiting list of people who want to work for them. All the staff are fully qualified and experienced but most importantly they are all caring and friendly.

“Darwin Day Surgery is able to provide an alternative choice for patients requiring a range of procedures under general anaesthetic”, says Joanne. Resident plastic surgeon, Dr Ravi Mahajani, performs a range of cosmetic and plastic surgical procedures. He is highly regarded and sought after for his skills as well as his gentle and caring nature. Dr Mahajani excels in hand surgery, repairing tendons and nerves, and he was involved with the repairing of wounds suffered by Timor Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta in 2008.

Darwin Day Surgery is the first and only known nurse-initiated day-care surgery in Australia and this is truly an inspiration to other nurses. They have also been I recognised nationally, winning the 2011 Telstra Micro-business Award for the NT and then both the National Telstra Micro-business Award and the AMP Innovation Award.

Darwin Day Surgery director Maureen Schaffer

More than $2 million has been spent on the new purpose-built facility, which boasts state-of-the-art equipment including the latest platform scopes released in May 2012, which exist nowhere else in the NT. The low-temperature chemical steriliser is also brand new technology, the only one in the Territory and it can sterilise the surgery’s own scopes. In fact none of the equipment or supplies leave the facility for cleaning, therefore eliminating any chance of cross-contamination. The linen, including blankets, sheets and staff uniform scrubs, are all disposable. The medical representatives spent time leading up to the opening ensuring all staff were certified competent with the new equipment, and stayed on hand for the first few weeks for the transition. It’s this level of high quality service being delivered that makes Darwin Day Surgery stand out.

The fit-out of the new Darwin Day Surgery was completed by ISIS Darwin. Under the guidance of project manager Ray they transformed the blank canvas into a premium healthcare facility featuring spacious light-filled rooms, well designed flow of space and a natural colour palette in just 12 weeks.


Darwin Day Surgery is accessible only through referrals from GPs and specialists. One of the great advantages Darwin Day Surgery offers is more flexible hours that allow operating on weekends and after hours. Clients also never have to come back the following day for a procedure, as the surgery operates until everyone on the list has been seen.


Darwin Day Surgery is successful because it offers a personalised service from admission through to discharge with expert staff making clients feel safe and special. A pre-admission appointment is held to determine if clients fit the criteria for day surgery. This is important because client health and safety are paramount and any risks are therefore avoided.


Clients won’t find crowded waiting rooms and lengthy periods of boredom waiting to be taken through to theatre at Darwin Day Surgery. Rather than being admitted in the morning and waiting for potentially hours along with dozens of other patients, the staff here call clients to come in just before the procedure. It’s this intimate and personalised care that sets Darwin Day Surgery above the rest.


There are two large theatre rooms designated to the two main services: plastic and reconstructive surgeries in Theatre I and scopes such as endoscopies and colonoscopies in Theatre 2. The theatres do not feel cold or clinical like most alternatives. With timber-tone floors, bleached timber-tone walls and pale cream paint they feel much more comfortable and homely.


Recovery has two stages. In Stage 1 recovery clients are monitored closely by nursing staff as they come out from under anaesthetic. Once cleared to enter Stage 2 recovery, clients recline in the comfy armchairs and have something to eat and drink. Following Stage 2 recovery, clients head downstairs to the ‘transit lounge’ where they can relax on the lounge and have a cup of tea or coffee while waiting to be collected by a family member of friend. Darwin Day Surgery is now conveniently located at Level 1, 7a Gsell St Wanguri

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