Three multi-million dollar ward projects at Christchurch Hospital have been completed, allowing Canterbury District Health Board to move acute services back to one site.
The February 22 earthquake resulted in acute general medical wards to be temporarily split across The Princess Margaret and Christchurch Hospitals.
In May the new 36 bed acute medical assessment unit (AMAU) was opened on the ground floor of Parkside. Today two other new wards were officially opened on levels two and three of Parkside.
David Meates, Canterbury District Health Board chief executive, says it has been a busy and challenging two years of construction and planning to get to this stage.
“Everyone involved in these projects has done a remarkable job,” says David Meates.
The new wards in Parkside were officially opened this afternoon by Christchurch Central MP, Nicky Wagner.
Nicky says she is very proud of the achievements of Canterbury District Health Board which leads the country with its innovative approach to developing a strong health system.
“I’ve been impressed with what has been achieved in very tight timeframes, while continuing with business as usual,” Nicky Wagner said.
David Meates said a major challenge to the construction was that level one of Parkside – the area directly under the refurbished level two – contains 11 operating theatres. Contractors Leighs Construction had to undertake all noisy work between 6am-8am, and were required at other times to cease work so complicated surgery could be safely performed below them. Leighs were very flexible and successfully worked with these challenges.
“Over the last two and a half years ward closures and noisy repairs and been very disruptive for staff. Despite the challenges staff have worked tirelessly to ensure services kept running smoothly. Today’s opening, and the opening of AMAU in May, has meant that some clinical teams can now work in high quality, purpose built, facilities.”
Mr Meates says that the design of the new wards has been clinically driven.
“Clinical staff have provided valuable input into the design of the new wards. Staff have thoroughly thought out every detail, and accessibility issues have been paramount.
“The needs of patients with disabilities and the growing elderly population have been factored in, with wide corridors and ample room for walking frames. Extending the ward space into the internal courtyard has allowed us to make space for en-suites in the four-bed rooms.”
The completion of the projects is a “huge milestone” but Mr Meates says he wants to remind patients, visitors and staff that normality of the pre-quake days are still many years off.
“With more than $500 million worth of damage to buildings across the health system there’s still a huge amount of repair work to be done and we also have the facilities redevelopment projects getting underway as well. This means that ongoing disruptions are going to be a part of our landscape for years to come.
“It is a huge challenge for everyone but we will have some the best facilities and one of the most innovative health systems in the world to come out of this – it will require ongoing commitment and perseverance but I am 100 percent positive Canterbury is up for it.”
Before the construction started the areas on level two and three were mainly used for departmental administration offices, the majority of which are now based on the first floor of Hagley Outpatients. The exception is Plastic Surgery Outpatients, which was previously located on Level 3 of Parkside.
Outpatients were previously on the ground floor of Parkside, which is now AMAU, and moved into a new building on the former Hagley Nurses’ Hostel site beside Christchurch Women’s last year.
The new Surgical Progressive Care Unit (SPCU) has a capacity of 10 beds - six more than before. SPCU provides care for surgical patients requiring higher levels of care and supervision, for instance patients who have just had major surgery.
Ward 16, containing a General Surgical unit and the Surgical Assessment and Review Area – SARA, is temporarily occupying the newly built Ward 10 on the second floor of Parkside. Ward 16 will be occupying this space for six weeks so earthquake repairs, including the installation of ceiling tiles and new carpet, can be completed in Ward 16.
In early September patients will move back to Ward 16 and the new ward will be used by cardiothoracic and vascular specialties.
A new 27 bed Ward 11 ENT and General Medicine Specialties and the Plastics Outpatients Clinic. ENT was previously in Ward 32 of Riverside and lost their ward after the earthquakes and have been sharing space up until now.
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