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West Coast DHB moves to address critical seismic issues



Embargoed until 1:15 pm 7 September 2012

West Coast DHB moves urgently to address critical seismic issues at Grey Base Hospital

The West Coast DHB is moving urgently to address critical seismic issues in two of its buildings at Grey Base Hospital. This week it received a detailed engineering report regarding Morice Ward, the Critical Care Unit, Waterson Day Surgery Unit, McBrearty Ward and medical administration, and a preliminary engineer’s report on Hannan and Barclay Wards advising that both buildings are earthquake prone.

Chief executive David Meates says, “The advice from engineers is that we should be making plans to relocate Morice Ward, the Critical Care Unit, Waterson Day Surgery Unit, McBrearty Ward and medical administration to another building. Their advice is that we don’t have to relocate immediately, but we do need to make alternative plans.

“We are really clear that to relocate our services from Morice Ward, the Critical Care Unit, Waterson Day Surgery Unit, McBrearty Ward and medical administration, we need to resolve some of the earthquake prone issues identified in the preliminary report on Hannan and Barclay Wards. We only received this report yesterday. It has highlighted some areas of concern, but they are able to be mitigated relatively quickly. Specifically, we need to strengthen four columns in this building. Over the past 24 hours we have moved quickly to take advice from structural engineers and we now have a plan in place to undertake this work in the next seven to eight weeks. On completion of this strengthening, Morice Ward, the Critical Care Unit, Waterson Day Surgery Unit, McBrearty Ward and medical administration will be relocated. Over the next two weeks clinical teams will be working through how services can be relocated to ensure a smooth transition to minimise disruption to current services.

Greymouth District Council Mayor, Tony Kokshoorn says, "I am committed to working with the DHB and Council to ensure a fast track consent application so remedial work can start straight away. Continued health services from Grey Base Hospital is of huge importance to the whole of the West Coast.”

The strengthening of the Hannan and Barclay Ward building will lift its compliance to an acceptable level for occupation. However, these immediate fixes are not sustainable, but they will provide some short-term breathing space to enable long-term plans to be agreed.

“Six years ago the West Coast DHB ran a desk top study on both these buildings to determine earthquake compliance, but since the Christchurch earthquakes organisations across the country have been re-evaluating their seismic compliance. The state of our buildings has not changed in those six years, but compliance requirements have. All facilities on the Grey site are currently going through detailed engineering reports. There will be further reports coming out in the next few weeks and we will inform staff and the community as and when we receive these reports.

“We will be releasing the peer reviewed engineering report on Morice Ward, the Critical Care Unit, Waterson Day Surgery Unit, McBrearty Ward, and medical administration building to all staff on Monday, and the final report on Hannan and Barclay Ward buildings will be released to staff as soon as we receive it.

“We have also received preliminary advice on the roof structure in the laboratory building and some strengthening is required. This will take place over the next three months and should not disrupt services. Staff will be consulted on the plans we are putting in place.

“I want to assure our people and the community that we are very focused on the safety of patients and staff, alongside the need to provide continuity of health services on the West Coast,” says David Meates.


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