The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients.
Health Minister Dr David Clark was in Taranaki today to announce details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It will be funded out of the $1.7 billion set aside in Budget 2019 for upgrading hospitals and health facilities.
The minister made the announcement in front of a large crowd, including Health Baord trustees and officials as well as Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke and New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom. While Volzke was re-elected yesterdat, Holdom only received the news he had been re-elected under an hour before the Minister's arrival.
The project will create new critical and acute care facilities, including a new Emergency Department (twice as large as the current ED) and Intensive Care Unit. Other facilities included are a rooftop helipad which will enable faster and safer patient transfers and purpose built maternity facilities and delivery suite, as well as a new postnatal ward and neonatal unit.
The project will also upgrade laboratory and radiology services and provide a dedicated tupapaku facility (morgue.)
Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB) chair, Pauline Lockett, said she welcomes the Ministers announcement that $300m of Wellbeing budget funding has been prioritised to build a new acute hospital building on its Taranaki Base Hospital campus.
"This is a significant milestone for Taranaki DHB and our community. We are thrilled the Government has prioritised this funding to upgrade our hospital and health facilities with a new acute hospital building to be built on our Taranaki Base Hospital campus."
The hospital treated over 33,000 patients in the Emergency Department last year, said Dr Clark.
"Taranaki Base Hospital serves a population of 120,000 and last year its Emergency Department treated 33,600 - with tens-of-thousands more receiving inpatient, outpatient and other services. They deserve modern, fit for purposes facilities that support high quality services.
"This Government is serious about the long-term challenge of rebuilding our neglected hospitals."
In 2018 final seismic assessments confirmed four of the hospital's clinical buildings and three office buildings were Earthquake Prone and recommendations for their remediation were made in a seismic risk management plan. The work would also address the seismic issues with the buildings, the minister said.
"It will improve the resilience of the hospital so it can provide emergency clinical care after a major disaster. The building will also target a 5-star Greenstar certification, reducing the energy, water and carbon footprint of the hospital. Most importantly, these upgraded facilities will improve how acute clinical services are delivered, ensuring high quality care and better health outcomes for the community."
The new building will also see significant improvements in the resilience of buildings and infrastructure, including power supply, water storage, computer systems, structural resilience and medical gas supply to the entire Taranaki Base Hospital campus.
The New East Wing will comply with the Earthquake-Prone Building Amendment Act, meet the NZ Building Code and comply with the Health & Safety at Work Act.
"The building concept designs are based on 10 key design principles. These principles keep us focused on what is most important and put patients and whanau at the centre," said Rosemary Clements, Taranaki DHB chief executive.
The new maternity unit was great news for families, said the minister.
"I'm particular pleased that the new maternity ward will house a primary birthing unit, delivery suite, antenatal clinic and assessment unit – and that a postnatal ward will be collocated with the neonatal unit. That will be great news for new mothers and their babies.
"The new, much larger Emergency Department will also mean there's more capacity to manage acute demand. A new acute assessment unit will also help ensure people get the appropriate treatment and reduce hospital admissions."
A detailed business case for the project is already underway, said Dr Clark.
"Final approval of this project is subject to the detailed business case. Work towards this next stage is already well advanced. Clinicians, user groups and local iwi will continue to be consulted to ensure we get the best outcomes for staff and patients. Today's announcement means the people of Taranaki can be confident their hospital will continue to deliver the care they need into the future."
"But there is much more to be done to improve hospital facilities around the country and I expect to make further investment announcements in coming days and weeks," Dr Clark said.
Construction of the new East Wing at Taranaki Base Hospital is expected to begin by the end of 2020 (or early 2021) and it is expected to open in late 2023. Stage One of the hospital's redevelopment, the $80 million Acute Services Building, was opened in July 2014.