New maternity suite gets ready to deliver

By Lindy Laird

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The new maternity unit at Whangarei Hospital is nearing completion.
The new maternity unit at Whangarei Hospital is nearing completion.

Whangarei Hospital's new maternity building has gone over its expected delivery time but will be ready to deliver after its official opening later this month.

The official opening will be on February 24, with a public open morning including tours of the facility on February 27, and the building becoming fully operational a week later.

Called Te Kotuku, the new building on Hospital Rd was started in March 2014 but the work schedule was extended because of a change in the plan to accommodate the shell of an extra floor and strengthening to enable a third floor to be built without disrupting the wards below, when further expansion is needed. That future-proofing added nine months to the building project.

Northland District Health Board chief executive Nick Chamberlain said the work is on budget, although the additional floor added a further $5.3 million from a separate fund to the original $9.8m cost.

"The overall design is to have two additional floors and we will have to build a third level when we occupy the second floor sometime in the future," Dr Chamberlain said.

"It prevents us to have to decant a ward for up to 15 months when we build the floor above."

The new unit brings together three departments separated over two floors in the main hospital - antenatal, delivery suite and postnatal. It replaces the 40-year-old ward with a modern, family-friendly facility, where each birthing room and bedroom have full ensuite facilities.

Te Kotuku will have 22 inpatient beds in one and two bedroom units, four antenatal clinic rooms, two assessment rooms, a mothers' lounge and parents' lounge, two baby feeding rooms, two birthing pools, a room for antenatal classes and a visitors' waiting room. It will also house the Butterfly Room, a suite for families whose babies do not survive or are in danger.

The walls will feature work by Northland artists and reference the region's geographic and cultural roots.

- Northern Advocate

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