Health Minister David Clark has received advice from Counties-Manukau DHB over the rot, mould and sewerage issues at its facilities and how it will go about fixing them.

Clark had asked for more information from the DHB on the state of its facilities and its plan to deal with the multitude of building issues following a meeting last week.

A spokesman for the Minister said this evening Clark had received a large amount of information from the DHB but he had yet to go through it before revealing what it contained.

The blame game over the sorry state of Middlemore Hospital continued today with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying under-investment well before her Government took power last year had led to the current situation.

Advertisement

National said it wasn't aware of the specific problems and it was up to the current Government to deal with them.

RNZ today reported that in addition to the mould, rot, sewerage and asbestos issues at the Auckland hospital, Middlemore was forced to use emergency generators for weeks at its busy Manukau SuperClinic after a major power failure.

Kidz First Children's Hospital at Middlemore also had to rely on battery power for nine minutes last October when generators failed to kick in, One News reported.

Clark said in Parliament today that people turning up hospitals and health services had every right to expect the buildings were well-maintained and fit for purpose.

"Unfortunately, it's clear there is a large backlog of building problems at Counties-Manukau District Health Board, including rot, mould, and sewerage issues. These issues did not develop overnight and will take some time to address."

Clark has also requested an asset register across the entire health system.
He laid the blame for the state of the country's health system on the previous government, saying it had prioritised tax cuts for the wealthy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the issues at Middlemore were a symptom of chronic under-investment in the health sector.

"Obviously the issue of mould in the walls of Middlemore Hospital has not just happened. This is an ongoing infrastructure problem. I think to squarely place it on our shoulders … doesn't resolve the problem and that's what we need to do, but also ignores the fact that we've had significant under-investment in our health system for a consecutive number of years," Ardern said this morning.

She said the state of the hospitals were worse than had been expected by her Government.

"When we look at the capital needs of hospitals and health in particular, but also the deficits the DHBs are facing, that is worse than I was anticipating."

She did not believe that former health minister Jonathan Coleman and National leader Simon Bridges were unaware of the capital underspending deficits DHBs faced.

"There's no way you could turn a blind eye to the deficits that everyone could see.

She put the total capital deficit in health at more than $10 billion.
"I would have thought a minister of health would probably know that."

Bridges said today the previous National government had known the Counties-Manukau board was seeking more money but was not aware of the specific problems at the hospital.

"We did what we could, we continued to raise investment in that area. Now it's another go, clearly there'll be more investment but they've [the Government] talked about billions and billions of dollars, let's see what they do."

The Government recently approved an extra $11.5 million of funding to repair problems relating to Middlemore's rotting timber, leaks and mould - bringing the total cost of that project to $27.5 million.

The Counties-Manukau DHB said it had also budgeted to spend $3 million between 2017 and 2022 to increase the resilience of the hospital's power supply.