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North Shore Hospital Comes Of Age On 20th Birthday

North Shore Hospital Comes Of Age On 20th Birthday

Current and past mayors George Wood and George Gair (who was also among the first raft of surgical patients in the newly opened operating theatres in 1984) will join North Shore Hospital staff in a special celebration on Monday April 5.

The main Tower Block of North Shore Hospital officially opened on April 2, 1984, and general manager Rachel Haggerty says there is much to celebrate on its 20th birthday.

“When the hospital opened in 1984 there were just two theatres, two surgical and three medical wards, a coronary care unit and a limited emergency department which closed evenings and weekends and no medical sub-specialties. Today we have extensive medical, surgical, maternity, mental health and community health services provided on the hospital site.”

There are now nine fully commissioned theatres, five medical wards, two older peoples wards, an additional “winter ward” for peak winter workloads and extensive medical sub-specialties such as rheumatology, endocrinology, diabetes, gastroenterology and cardiology.

The original hospital opened in 1956 as a basic maternity hospital, plus a small emergency unit. These one level buildings at the far Shakespeare Rd corner of the site are now used for administration and mental health services.

The hospital now has a 24/7 Emergency Care Centre and a Special Care Baby Unit which cares for new-born babies at 32 weeks gestation or older and weighing more than 1500 grams.

It has also become a major centre for research, is at the forefront of a national safe medicines project and is achieving many national “firsts” with the introduction of a drug bar-coding system in its theatres, and the use of specialist scanning equipment which can more accurately and quickly diagnose a wide range of cardiac conditions.

It is the largest employer in the district with some 1900 staff working on the site.

All staff throughout the hospital have been invited to celebrate with around 60 “original” staff who have worked at the hospital since opening day and some 40 former staff who have been invited back especially for the occasion.

Ms Haggerty says there is a special working atmosphere in the hospital because of its unique history.

“We have a team of dedicated, hard-working staff who are often under pressure and going unheralded in their work. They just get on with the daily business of providing care and support services for patients. We still have a cross-section of long-term staff including surgeons, nurses, sterile supply people, clerical and support services and that typifies the special working relationships between departments.”

Waitemata District Health Board is the largest secondary healthcare provider in New Zealand, serving a population of around 476,000.


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