10 January 2008
New Route For Ambulances
A tunnel has been made through the Kempthorne Building at Waikato Hospital as part of a new route for ambulances to access the Emergency Department (ED).
The breakthrough was part of a series of enabling works to allow for construction of the hospital's new ED to start next month..
The new ED will be situated in front of the current main entrance on car park A and will block off the current main entrance and access to the ambulance bay.
Service and Campus Redevelopment (SCR) senior project manager Brendan Hague said the new route would be a significant change for ambulance drivers but would not come as a surprise to them.
"Ambulances coming into Waikato Hospital have been driving the current way for 30 years so it was important that ambulance drivers knew what was planned.
"We have consulted with St John and they understand that it is a temporary measure to ensure they continue to have quick and easy access to the ambulance bay during construction of the new ED," he said.
Months of preparation went into getting the building ready for the breakthrough including the removal of four offices, bracing of the area around the tunnel and a week of cutting internal walls and fixtures.
With the new route, ambulances will enter through the gate immediately south of the helipad off Pembroke Street, drive around the southern side of the Bryant Education Centre and up the road to the east of the theatre block.
Ambulances will then cross through the pink corridor of the hospital which will be restricted to staff access only.
"The public will not be allowed in this area. All clinical services have been moved to other areas of the hospital and the tunnel will be closed off with double doors on either side for staff access only," he said.
Mr Hague also added that ambulances will not be travelling through the tunnel at high speeds because of its close proximity to ED but clear warning signs would be in place.
The new ambulance route will become operational when construction on the new ED gets underway after the Transit Lounge, carparking building and new main entrance to the hospital opens on January 21.
Only acute ambulances will use this new route and patients being transferred to or from the hospital and other 'cold' ambulances will go directly to the Transit Lounge.
Waikato District Health Board has also leased a de-commissioned ambulance to transport patients between the helipad and ED while construction is underway.
Previously patients have been transferred by a trolley.
Construction of the new buildings is part of Waikato DHB's $252 million Service and Campus Redevelopment project scheduled for completion in 2012.