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Act ensures hospital rebuild will keep to schedule

Act ensures hospital rebuild will keep to schedule

Special legislation designed to ensure timely recovery following the Canterbury earthquakes will be used to deliver appropriate Christchurch health facilities to meet an expected spike in demand in 2018.

The Ministry of Health has asked Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to exercise his powers under section 27 of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 to ensure prompt delivery of the city’s new Acute Services Building at Christchurch Hospital.

“This building will house a range of essential health services, including a new accident and emergency department,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Serious damage to the Canterbury District Health Board’s facilities combined with a growing and aging population means existing facilities will not be sufficient for Christchurch’s population by 2018.

“Using the CER Act will ensure the new building is operational from April 2018.”

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Acute Services Building will deliver new operating theatres, 400 beds, purpose-designed facilities for children, an expanded intensive care unit, a state-of-the-art radiology department, a new emergency department and a rooftop helipad.

“For the building to open as planned, work on its construction must begin as soon as possible.

“Preliminary design work has only just been completed due to the complex nature of facilities and services housed within the building, and that means the Ministry of Health has only recently been able to seek planning approval for its construction,” Mr Ryall says.

The Acute Services Building would normally require land use consents from Christchurch City Council, because the proposal is a ‘non-complying activity’ under the existing Special Purpose (Hospital) Zone provisions in the City Plan. Using section 27 of the CER Act changes the provision of the City Plan so no land use consents are required.

“The normal process of getting that approval through would take too long and the new building would not be finished in time,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This is exactly why we have the CER Act, and using section 27 in this scenario is the most appropriate way to speed an otherwise lengthy process up.

“In considering the Ministry of Health’s request I have taken careful regard to the potential for effects on Hagley Park and the surrounding environment, and have put in place some mitigating conditions to reflect that.

“I have considered very carefully the use of section 27 measured against the recovery purposes of the Act.

“Given the Canterbury District Health Board has had to re-evaluate site usage and requirements post earthquake damage, and the gap between now and the predicted need is rapidly closing, I consider ensuring Christchurch has a fully capable and functioning hospital by 2018 justifies the use of section 27,” Mr Brownlee says.

The new Acute Services Building is being constructed at the rear of Christchurch Women’s Hospital and will adjoin the existing hospital. The first on-site phase of the project involves enabling works to clear and prepare the site for construction, and that will begin in September.

Redevelopment of Christchurch and Burwood Hospitals is a $650 million government investment in Canterbury health facilities – the biggest ever investment in public health facilities in New Zealand.

For more information visit: www.cdhb.health.nz/What-We-Do/Projects-Initiatives/Facilities-Development-Project/Pages/default.aspx

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