Government to fund extra $9.7 million for Greymouth Hospital

By Laura Mills -
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Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said the new hospital would be a high quality facility. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said the new hospital would be a high quality facility. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Government today announced an extra $9.7 million for the new Greymouth Hospital after subcontractor prices came back higher than expected - with work due to begin on Monday.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said the new hospital would be a high quality facility. The extra funding meant the plans developed with the help of doctors would remain the same.

Work on the original $67 million building project was put on hold in February before it even started, due to a cost overrun of $1.3 million.

"Since February, the Ministry of Health and the West Coast Hospital Redevelopment Partnership Group has worked closely with (main contractor) Fletcher Construction to finalise design costs after estimates came in over budget," Dr Coleman said today.

Competitive pricing for subcontractors had taken the budget to $77.8 million - $9.7 million above the original budget - mainly because of competition with the Canterbury rebuild.

"The Government is investing additional funding to ensure the service and design requirements for the new hospital remain unchanged from what was agreed with the DHB following consultation and clinical input," the minister said.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, who was briefed late this morning by the minister, said he was "over the moon" with the news.

"There have been a lot of people on the Coast who have worked on this extensively since 2009, when (former health minister) Ryall promised it.

"There have been long delays but they've come through, right on queue. I'm elated they're putting the extra $9.7m in," Mr Kokshoorn said.

The new hospital is expected to open in 2018.

The 8500sq m facility -- to be built on the site of the former nurses' hostel -- includes 56 in-patient beds, three operating theatres and an integrated family health centre. It will include a 24/7 emergency department, critical care unit, acute and planned medical and surgical services, maternity services, and outpatient care.

"The Government is committed to the Grey Base Hospital redevelopment and providing the services that the community needs," Dr Coleman said.

West Coast District Health Board chairman Peter Ballantyne applauded the announcement, saying everyone involved appreciated that the facilities would proceed with no reduction in scope. "We can now start planning around the new opening dates and it will be a huge relief to the people of the Coast that there will be no further foreseeable delays in getting their new base hospital," Mr Ballantyne said.

He said the minister had also confirmed that the Hospitals Redevelopment Partnership Group would assume oversight of the new Westport integrated family health centre to replace Buller Hospital.

National Party list MP Maureen Pugh added her congratulations: "The Government has a clear understanding of the rebuild costs for Grey Base Hospital. I'm delighted with the decision to boost the funding by upwards of 14 per cent, ensuring construction gets under way as scheduled and without compromise to the design."

DHB chief executive David Meates said it was "all systems go" for Greymouth Hospital, with preparation work under way as early as Monday, noting that it could affect traffic and parking at the hospital.

- Greymouth Star

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