The next stage in an extensive schedule of major quake repairs and rebuild projects for Canterbury Health System has begun.
Leighs Construction was recently awarded the contract for major construction works, which will help restore capacity at Christchurch Hospital.
David Meates, Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) Chief Executive, says the multi-million dollar projects include building a new Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU) and the expansion of surgical ward capacity and the Surgical Progressive Care Unit at Christchurch Hospital.
"This is a major step forward, so I am delighted this work is underway, however it will be extremely disruptive for staff and patients," Mr Meates says.
"This work follows on from the recent completion of the new temporary Outpatients Department on the Hagley Hostel site – and will total more than $20 million. It is also in addition to around $10 million worth of work for the Hillmorton Hospital site with upgrades to the Specialist Mental Health Services' Ferguson Building and Adult Inpatient Service."
Mr Meates says ensuring public safety while the earthquake repairs and rebuilds take place is always first priority.
"Up to 100 tradesmen will be on the sites at times and material deliveries will be happening close to main entrances. There will be noise and vibration but the contractors will be doing their best to minimise the disruption."
AMAU will be built on the ground floor of Parkside West, at Christchurch Hospital, where Outpatients used to be located and the new wards will be reconfigured on level two and three of Parkside West, which are mainly used for medical and support staff offices.
Mr Meates says it was also a relief to be getting closer to having general medical services back on one site because having a split service carries greater clinical risk.
Ward space on the fourth and fifth floors of Riverside block was lost in the February 22 earthquake, forcing the CDHB to split general medicine services across Christchurch and The Princess Margaret Hospitals.
"It was never an ideal or sustainable situation but since the earthquake it has been the best option available to us in the interim and the clinical teams have been doing a remarkable job," he says.
The new AMAU should be ready to open in February next year, while the new wards are likely to open a couple of months later.
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