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Approval for Waikato and Thames hospital projects

15 April 2004 Media Statement

Full approval for Waikato and Thames hospital projects

Health Minister Annette King says she is delighted the Cabinet has fully approved the Waikato District Health Board's $215 million redevelopment plans for Waikato and Thames hospitals.

Ms King says work will soon begin on the redevelopments, costing about $195 million in Hamilton and about $20 million in Thames.

In a joint announcement today with Hamilton Labour MPs Martin Gallagher and Dianne Yates, Ms King said the decision “reflects the Government's commitment to the highest-quality hospital facilities for the people of Waikato and Coromandel, and for all the people in the wider Midland region who access high-tech services in Hamilton.

“People in Thames and Coromandel can be specially pleased. Thames Hospital would certainly not have been redeveloped under the former Government’s administration, but this Labour-led Government is determined to keep smaller hospitals open, and to provide the best facilities possible in those hospitals.

“Last December, for example, I announced the decision to redevelop Wairarapa Hospital and Dunstan Hospital, and soon I will be able to make announcements also about Kaitaia. Horowhenua is also progressing well. Smaller communities can breathe easily under this Government. The previous Government starved smaller communities of the vital health resources they need, and their hospitals were under constant threat of closure.”

Ms King said she wanted to pay special tribute to the Waikato District Health Board. “All hospital projects now have to undergo rigorous scrutiny by the national capital committee. This places a requirement on boards to present detailed and realistic business cases. The committee was extremely impressed with the work Waikato has done. The final plan is excellent, and a credit to all Waikato staff.”

Ms King said one important aspect of the business case was the fact that the board was not simply asking for desirable new buildings in which services would continue to be delivered as they had been in the past.

“I am impressed that great thought has been given to the way the campus redevelopment at both hospitals reflects new ways of organising, integrating and delivering services across the region.

"The DHB’s focus on delivering health services in a safe, modern way and improving integration with primary health care has produced excellent results. The result will be hospitals of which the community can be proud, and a wider health service that meets community needs throughout the region."

Ms King said the main features of the Waikato Hospital redevelopment included: A new ambulatory care centre. A new Medical Imaging Department. A new surgery area consolidating all operating theatres (except caesarean) in one location, including 10 existing theatres, 10 new or replacement theatres and 40 day surgery spaces. An extended and redeveloped emergency department. An extended and redeveloped Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit including 45 beds overall. An extended and redeveloped Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation service including 76 beds. An extended and redeveloped New Born Intensive Care Unit including 41 cots.

The main features of the Thames redevelopment included: A new building replacing the old wooden buildings, with services delivered from the new facility including emergency department, radiology and a variety of ambulatory services. Front Ward Block redeveloped to improve flexibility of inpatient use.

“These redevelopments will serve the people of Waikato and Coromandel superbly for many years to come. Waikato board staff can feel proud of their achievements, and I feel proud that the Government is recognising in full the fine business case they developed.”

Ms King said she wanted to pay tribute to Martin Gallagher, Dianne Yates and Nanaia Mahuta for their tireless advocacy for the board’s case. “Without a doubt they have been among the most enthusiastic supporters for the redevelopment.”

ENDS

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