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New Wellington Hospital Discussion Paper Released

MEDIA RELEASE

EMBARGOED UNTIL 1PM TUESDAY 29 JUNE 1999

Hon Wyatt Creech

Minister of Health

29 June 1999

New Wellington Hospital Discussion Paper Released - Consultation Starts

A new state-of-the-art public hospital in Wellington moved significantly closer today with the launch of a discussion document and consultation process on what is needed in a hospital that meets the health needs of the next generation.

"The new hospital in Wellington is a once in a generation decision. It needs to be well thought through and analysed to make certain we get the best possible health services for those the hospital will serve," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"Wellington needs a new hospital. The existing hospital contains a jumble of buildings and facilities not well suited to the delivery of health services in the next century.

"The discussion document out today moves the debate forward and contains the expert and technical advice we all need to help guide our future decisions," Mr Creech said.

The new facility will provide tertiary hospital services for an area from Taranaki across to Hawkes Bay to Marlborough and Nelson in the South Island. It will provide secondary services for the traditional Wellington City area served by the current Wellington Hospital.

The document includes advice on the proposed hospital's size, location, relevance of associated services, and the health needs of various groups.

The report advises that:

· by 2016 it is estimated that up to 560 hospital beds in the Wellington area could be needed.

· clinical, access and population factors show there should be a single higher level tertiary hospital which also provides secondary services for the central region, a secondary hospital in the Hutt Valley and additional services at a third site such as a sub acute or ambulatory centre.

· from a planning point of view Wellington Hospital already has in place the infrastructure with a demonstrated capability of providing tertiary services and the land needed to build a new hospital.

"While there have been calls for the new hospital to be at other sites, unless a strong case can be made that relocation would enhance the health service outcomes for the people of the area Newtown remains the preferred site.

"The hospital should be located where we can give the best health solution for the Wellington area.

"We now want people's views and ideas about the technical advice in the discussion paper.

"We have to take into account a range of factors - including the fact the make up of the population in the Wellington area will change in the years ahead. For example by 2016 the Maori population in the central region will increase by a third and Pacific peoples' by almost 40 per cent. The number of children will drop by 20 per cent and the number of older people (over 65 years) will increase by about 40 per cent.

"The consultation process is designed to give the Government the widest possible advice base for final decisions, so the go ahead is given to a hospital that gives people the best health solution possible," Mr Creech said.

The discussion document is available from the Ministry of Health or on its website www.moh.govt.nz/wgtnhospital.html. The consultation ends on August 9 1999.

ENDS

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