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Special Start For Waikato Hospital Babies

Media information For immediate release

Date: Friday 25 July

Special Start For Waikato Hospital Babies

Babies born in Waikato Hospital's refurbished delivery suite on Tuesday (July 29) are getting an extra special start in life.

Not only will they be the first born in the revamped premises but they will also receive a gift package of new-born essentials. Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams says there will be something special for the new mums too.

Construction work closed half the suite in January for a well-overdue makeover; the first major upgrade since it opened in 1979.

Mrs Adams, a nurse and midwife herself, described the new suite as stunning.

"I took the Minister of Health (David Cunliffe) for a tour through last week and we were both delighted to see at how great it looks. It's such a huge improvement.

"Any woman who has given birth at Waikato Hospital will know how badly the delivery suite needed this refurbishment," she said.

The larger, modern and more private rooms also receive natural sunlight making the rooms a much brighter place for giving birth.

Most of the rooms also include an ensuite bathroom with a shower - a significant improvement from the old suite, Mrs Adams said.

"The old birthing rooms weren't well known for their privacy and the lack of bathroom facilities was evident to anyone who visited.

"With two doors on each side of the room that anyone could look through and no soundproofing; it was far from ideal," she said.

Mrs Adams said the new rooms are a much more comfortable environment for women in labour.

"Waikato Hospital is the region's tertiary birthing facility so it's important that our facilities rate against international standards," she said.

In November, when the refurbishment of the second half of the suite is complete, this first half will be known as the Women's Assessment Unit; a new service at Waikato Hospital that provides a 24-hour acute service for pregnant women not in active labour or requiring high dependency care.

"This half has been primarily designed for assessments but most of the rooms are able to be used as birthing rooms too," Mrs Adams said.

"We needed to get this half done first so that we could establish the main reception area between the delivery suite and assessment unit as a first point of call for women coming to the hospital."

The end result will be a one-stop shop for pregnant women with a central reception area directing women to either the delivery suite or Women's Assessment Unit.

Previously all pregnant women, in labour or not, were assessed in a delivery suite birthing room.

Mrs Adams said the work on the suite required patience and understanding from patients and visitors.

"Everyone has coped tremendously well with the work going on around them and I would like to thank everyone for their continued support.

"It isn't easy to maintain a 24-hour service around construction but we've managed and all credit for that should go to the dedicated and hardworking staff.

"Ros Morell, a clinical midwife, has been the project manager and driving force behind the project to date and she has done an amazing job."

The major refurbishment of the delivery suite is part of Waikato DHB's $252 million Service and Campus Redevelopment project currently underway at Thames and Waikato hospitals.


Ashleigh Peek Communications Consultant Media and Communications Waikato District Health Board Phone: 021 359 315

About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato: Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 353,460 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $915 million and employs more than 5300 people.

Health Waikato is the DHB's main provider of hospital and health services with an annual budget of $530 million and 4500 staff. It has seven divisions across five hospital sites, two maternity and continuing care hospitals and 21 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.

Other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories - are delivered by a wide range of independent providers.


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