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Tauranga Hospital Celebrates Centenary

Tauranga Hospital Celebrates Centenary

Tauranga Hospital is 100 years old today. BOPDHB Chief Executive Officer Phil Cammish said the historic event was an opportunity to reflect on 100 years of innovation and excellence and look forward to an even brighter future.

When the Inspector-General of Hospitals Dr T.H.A. Valintine officially opened Tauranga Hospital on 6 March 1914 it had a live-in staff of four, a cow for milk supply, and a horse for staff transport.

The 250m² E-shaped building included two wards (a four-bed male ward and two-bed female ward) and sat in an acre of grounds. Today the hospital buildings total 58,000m² of floor space and sit on a 12 hectare campus. There are 349 beds and a 2240-strong staff is employed from the Tauranga site.

Much of the hospital’s expansion has occurred since the 1950s, up to which point it was still considered a cottage hospital.

“Today we have a modern hospital that can no longer be considered a cottage hospital,” said Mr Cammish. “We also have a wonderfully dedicated staff practising innovative and sometimes world-leading medicine for the people of the Bay of Plenty.

“I am often told by people how proud they are of Tauranga Hospital, and especially so when they drive past and compare today’s modern buildings to the 1950’s cottage hospital.”

Many wonderful stories have come forward from former staff members and patients in the lead-up to the centenary. A number of these are included on storyboards which will hang in the hospital’s main corridor over the coming weeks. They also form the basis of a commemorative booklet being produced to celebrate the event.

“Reflecting on the last 100 years has presented a timely opportunity for us to reconnect with the past, and discover stories about people who have worked at the hospital during that time,” said Mr Cammish.

Minister of Health Tony Ryall will visit the hospital tomorrow (Friday) and unveil a plaque in the Roof Garden commemorating the centenary. Mr Ryall will also take the opportunity to tour the hospital, including its Stroke Unit.

“If we need an example of advances in clinical care, this has to be a great one,” added Mr Cammish. “Not too many years ago a stroke usually condemned you to a life of perpetual disability but with today’s advances in medication and clinical rehabilitation, many stroke patients have a much lessened degree of disability and in many cases continue with a life which is close to normal.”

Centennial Facts – Did You Know?

Tauranga Hospital first opened on 6 March 1914, and throughout its early years even maintained a small farm.

“…(it is recommended) that a water trough be provided in the middle paddock near the nurses’ home; that the two pigs be sent to the bacon factory and that two others be purchased.” Tauranga Hospital Board Visiting Committee, November 1927.

In 1915 it was agreed an isolation ward was required and a concert, given by the Commercial Travellers Association, was held to raise money for the build which was to cost 594 pounds (today $78,797).
At that time, the average occupied beds in Tauranga Hospital numbered 3.3, today it is 307. There was a live-in staff of four (today 2240 who do not live in) and the average duration of stay of patients was 17 days (today it is 4 days).
The total annual cost of running the hospital was £1132 ($17,511). In 2014 it is $250 million. The average cost of treating patients was eight shillings and three pence per day ($57). Today it is $4600.


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