Ground was broken today on the new $76 million Greymouth Hospital, ending five months of uncertainty and four years of planning.

West Coast Hospital Redevelopment Partnership Group chairwoman Cathy Cooney, West Coast District Health Board chairman Peter Ballantyne and Fletcher Construction general manager Greg Pritchard were all present at the new hospital site - formerly occupied by the nurses hostel - as excavations got under way.

Site preparations were made yesterday as portacom offices were hoisted into place.

Mr Ballantyne said it would be a further 10 days before the actual building work began.


"We are getting the site set up now. We are very pleased that it's now go -- it has taken a long time."

Main contractor Fletcher Construction was keen to have the project completed by the first quarter of 2018.

Mr Ballantyne confirmed the replacement hospital would have its own working kitchen, while hospital maintenance currently provided by the DHB would also remain as the "status quo", and would not be outsourced.

The scope of the hospital project now would not change further.

"With the increased funding it's been recognised that the scope is as appropriate as possible. The models of care will also not vary -- there'll be no reduction in clinical scope -- but there have been some improvements to site infrastructure design."

The board was also "very conscious" of the commitment from Fletcher Construction to engage as many West Coast contractors as possible, Mr Ballantyne said.

Ms Cooney said that the process to develop the proposed hospital design had been "very robust".

"It's fit for purpose and will certainly meet future service delivery requirements extremely well."

- Greymouh Star