The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has been advised to temporarily relocate services and staff from Akaroa Hospital, following external structural engineering assessments.
The buildings are being assessed as part of the CDHB’s process of reviewing the seismic capacity of buildings.
Acting CDHB chief executive Mary Gordon says the CDHB were advising staff this afternoon of the engineer’s finding and bracing is being put in place to allow staff to move equipment and files out to allow for repairs and further invasive testing on the buildings to be done.
“We are committed to the delivery of health services for the people of Akaroa and are proactively working to relocate services in the interim,” Ms Gordon says.
There will be some disruption and we will do our best to contact everyone who is likely to be affected, she says.
“I apologise for the inconvenience, however, this urgent action is being taken for the safety of staff and the public. As we have previously stated, where we have concerns or become aware of issues regarding any of our buildings, we will not compromise the safety of our employees or the public,” Ms Gordon says.
Services located at Akaroa Hospital include:
Medical and Surgical Rehabilitation, Care Support – five beds
Maternity – two beds, supported by Midwives and General Practitioners
Pregnancy and Parenting Classes
Day patient care
Following the February 22 and June 13 quakes all CDHB buildings were checked by independent structural engineers.
Akaroa Hospital was being reviewed as part of a follow-up round of inspections and some issues requiring urgent temporary repairs have been identified.
Further invasive inspections are continuing to occur at CDHB facilities throughout Canterbury. CDHB owns over 200 buildings located from Kaikoura in the north to Ashburton in the south.
Since September 2010 quake over 7500 hospital rooms have been damaged and CDHB has already undertaken a significant range of urgent repairs.
The cost of repairs was originally estimated to be in the region of about $70 million, however, the cost of repairs and significant strengthening is expected to continue to rise as the results of further invasive inspections are made available and the costs of the necessary work is known.
If the building was previously safe to occupy, what’s changed?
Inspections were carried out following initial major quakes and after-shocks. As these buildings were not visibly damaged, they were subject to a wider review of seismic capacity which has just been completed. This action has been taken on the basis of the engineer’s initial findings concerning the buildings. CDHB received formal advice from the external structural engineers to transfer services to an alternative location.
What exactly is the problem?
At this stage of the engineering inspections some issues have been identified with the roof connection and there needs to further invasive inspections.
How can DHB staff be reassured about the building they work in?
Buildings have been constantly checked – we would not allow staff or patients to occupy any building that we didn’t believe was safe – this is why we have requested additional invasive inspection checks. If your building is being rechecked, it doesn’t mean it’s not safe to occupy.
Where have services been relocated to and for how long?
This is being finalised and as soon as arrangements are confirmed the community will be informed.
The duration of relocating services will depend on the outcome of the engineers’ more invasive inspections.
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