The Minister of Health, Jonathan Coleman, and Minister of Finance, Bill English, have given the go ahead to the developed design stage of a new outpatient facility.
The new outpatient facility will be completed in 2018 and is to be located in the Health Precinct on St Andrew's triangle, directly opposite Christchurch Hospital.
It will be five storeys high and will provide 10,500sq m of state-of-the-art facilities for outpatient and other clinical services.
The design process has made rapid progress, with the early concepts and preliminary design completed in two months. The next step is to begin the developed design (detail of room layouts etc.) this month.
Murray Cleverley, Canterbury DHB chairman and member of the Hospitals Redevelopment Partnership Group, says he is delighted about this very welcome announcement.
"A completed new facility will be a major achievement as part of the bigger Christchurch Hospital redevelopment picture," Mr Cleverley says.
"This is a very auspicious start to the new year and another really important step in addressing the legacy of disrupted services in the aftermath of the earthquakes -- to have received ministerial sign off is a great way to start the new year."
Mr Cleverley says the new outpatient facility will finally bring together again a number of general consultation clinics and provide for the delivery of services such as diabetes, endocrine, ophthalmology and dental.
"These services have been dispersed across the Christchurch Hospital campus, with dental at Hillmorton Hospital, since the Canterbury quakes significantly damaged a number of health facilities," he says.
Currently most outpatient clinics are temporarily housed in Hagley Outpatients, a facility built in just 100 post-quake days. Once the new outpatients' facility is open, part of the Hagley Outpatients building will be relocated, as planned, to find a second lease of life as part of Rangiora's new Health Hub.
Dr Rob Ojala, Canterbury DHB clinical lead for facilities redevelopment, says the emphasis is for this facility to support integrated specialist community care.
"This will help patients gain access to the specialist care they need outside of the more traditional hospital-based care environment," Dr Ojala says.
Mr Cleverley says the funding for the new outpatient facility will be a combination of money received through Canterbury DHB's insurance settlement, together with additional funding from the Government's Hospitals' Redevelopment budget, which is also contributing to the $650 million plus cost of new facilities at Burwood Hospital and the Acute Services Building on the Christchurch Hospital campus.
"I want to thank all of the staff, including clinical teams and contractors, who have already made significant contributions in terms of their time, commitment and expertise to get us to this stage," Mr Cleverley says.
Canterbury DHB has a number of major construction projects under way at present, with a new Integrated Family Health Centre in Kaikoura; a new Health Hub in Rangiora; the $650 million redevelopments at Burwood and Christchurch; and a new operating theatre and acute assessment unit under way in Ashburton, he says.
"All these new facilities will support staff to provide the very best care, and each one is a major morale boost for staff and patients who have had to 'make-do' with substandard and temporary facilities for long enough already."