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Question and Answers On New Hospital

Why has Newtown been selected as the site of the new hospital?

In most respects there appears to be little difference between the Newtown and Kenepuru sites. For example, a new hospital could be built at either site with minimal disruption to current services, and have been advised the earthquake risks at wither site can be appropriately engineered for at the new facility. Newtown has been chosen as the site for the new tertiary hospital because other key services important for a tertiary hospital are presently located in Newtown (eg Ronald McDonald House, Wellington School of Medicine). It would prove very costly and disruptive to shift these services to another site.

Why is a new hospital needed? What is the state of existing facilities?

The present Wellington Hospital consists of a jumble of outdated and poorly integrated facilities. Consequently, the present hospital is not well suited to meet modern health service requirements, and many buildings are past their use-by date.

How will the new hospital differ from the current hospital?

There will not be any notable changes to the types of services provided by the new hospital, apart from the re-location of the Plastic and Maxillofacial (Burns) service from Hutt Hospital. The new hospital will continue to provide tertiary services for the central region, more complex secondary services for much of the greater Wellington area, and full secondary services for the people of Wellington City. However, these services will be provided from a ‘new generation’ hospital which will ensure high quality services in a pleasant environment that will be much more acceptable to staff, patients and their families.

When will construction of the new hospital be complete?

Construction of the new Emergency Department is already underway and will be finished next year. Completion of the new hospital is estimated for 2003. However, service changes can happen faster than facility changes, and we expect a number of service improvements at Kenepuru Hospital and in the Porirua-Kapiti community to happen sooner than 2003.

What will happen to new building work recently approved by the Minister?

The construction of a new Emergency Department will continue as planned. Capital Coast Health Ltd has located and designed the new Emergency Department facility so that it can be incorporated into any future development. Other facility developments have also been approved as they are urgently needed and cannot wait until 2003.

How were the bed numbers established?

The anticipated bed numbers are consistent with historical and current trends in New Zealand and worldwide. These trends are largely the result of advances in technological and clinical practice, which are expected to continue to significantly reduce the period of time people need to spend in hospital and reduce the number of people who need to be admitted to hospital.

Porirua

What is happening there?

Kenepuru Hospital is going to be reconfigured to better meet the needs of the Porirua and Kapiti communities. In tandem with these changes to hospital-based services, the Government intends to enhance community based services and improve integration between these services and the hospital. This will be achieved through a new community-focused initiative to better integrate services in the Porirua-Kapiti area, including the development of a Porirua Health and Disability Plan.

What does this mean for the people of Porirua?

It will mean that people will get more of the public hospital services they need the most at Kenepuru Hospital. It also means that there will be better links between community and hospital based services, and improvements to these services, to ensure that individual patients and the community’s needs are central to the way health services are provided.

Kapiti

What do these decisions mean for Kapiti?

Service improvements are also in the pipeline for Kapiti. The Government is aiming to enhance outpatient service delivery on the Kapiti Coast. The HFA will investigate the range and frequency of services available with the aim of getting some additional outpatient services up and running in the 2000/2001 financial year.

Of course, the people of Kapiti will also benefit from having enhanced services, such as a 24hr A&E, available at Kenepuru Hospital.

The new community-focused integrated care initiative will cover both the Porirua and Kapiti areas. However, as the needs of people on the Kapiti Coast are likely to be different from people in Porirua, a separate Kapiti Health and Disability Plan will be developed over 2000/2001.

Process

What role has consultation played?

The public’s views have had a significant impact on the Government’s decisions. The Government considered the findings of the Technical Advisory Group (which was appointed to oversee public consultation) and the advice of officials when deciding on the site and size of the new regional hospital, and the services to be provided by the public hospitals in the Wellington area. It was clear from public consultation that people want secondary services as close to them as possible, while people from Porirua-Kapiti, in particular, also wanted improved community services and better integration.

What other advice did Ministers get?

In addition to the Technical Advisory Group’s findings, shareholding Ministers received advice from the Ministry of Health, Treasury, CCMAU and the HFA. This advice included a report about site issues from a firm of architects and health facility planners, and a report on current and emerging trends in hospital practice.

Whose going to pay and what’s the price tag?

A new state of the art hospital does not come cheap, although we will be minimising the costs to the public and associated health service providers by building the new regional hospital at Newtown.

Preliminary estimates suggest that a new 300 bed hospital at Newtown could cost around $160 million to build, although the cost would be higher if the hospital is bigger. Kenepuru may also require some re-development to support its new extended role. Funding for any integrated care initiatives will be considered by the Government once the Porirua and Kapiti Health and Disability Plans are completed.

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