Problems at Middlemore Hospital are worse than initially reported, with a leaked briefing showing 16 of its buildings are causing concern, seven of them rated as "high".

RNZ today reported that a briefing document had revealed that the Colvin complex, western campus and Otara spinal unit were considered of "high concern", with asbestos, leaks, critical infrastructure problems and seismic risks.

These buildings are in addition to those already reported as having problems.

A 2017 stocktake rated the buildings from high concern to no concern, RNZ reported.


Counties-Manukau DHB has said it was aware as early as 2012 that four buildings - Scott building, Kidz First children's hospital, the Manukau SuperClinic and the McIndoe building - were leaking badly.

Comment is being sought from Counties-Manukau DHB on the RNZ report.

Nurses Organisation organiser Anna Majavu told the broadcaster this morning that staff were made aware of the extent of problems at a briefing last week.

"We wouldn't have expected the hospital to have sat on a report that shows that they're earthquake-prone, they're full of asbestos and they're not weathertight," Majavu said.

She said the extent of the problems showed what could happen when necessary investment was not made.

"It's a real crisis and it's a huge tragedy that the previous government didn't provide the money to repair these buildings and to build the new facilities needed because now we're in a situation where the nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants have to continue working in these dangerous buildings.

"Patients have to continue being cared for in these dangerous buildings, and there's literally nowhere to move the patients to at this time."

Health Minister David Clark has received advice from Counties-Manukau DHB over the 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.

He said in Parliament on Tuesday 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.

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," Arden said on Tuesday.