Waikato Hospital’s new Emergency Department will open on 8 February 2011.
Tainui Kaumatua and the hospital chaplaincy blessed the facilities at an early-morning ceremony in front of almost 100 people today.
The ceremony involved a walk through the new facilities that Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams describes as stunning.
“It is an exciting time for the hospital. Today marks the beginning of the end of the journey for us all, and although we cannot open these facilities today, the end is in sight and I look forward to February when we can show them off to everyone.
“It will be a place of hope for many and a place of tragedy for some but I trust that everyone who does come here will be able to appreciate the improvements that this new facility will provide,” she said.
The new department is more than twice the size of the current facilities and additional space allows beds to be moved out of the corridors and into more private and comfortable cubicles.
Ensuite facilities and additional family/whanau areas have also been added and a 22metre staff base sits in the centre with a view of the main department.
The new ED is located at Level 1 of the new Acute Services Building, next to the current department at the top of the hill off Pembroke Street.
Construction began in early 2009 in the area formerly known as Carpark A.
Building Programme director Ian Wolstencroft said work on the pedestrian and vehicle access would continue, as well as installing of equipment and furnishings inside.
He said visitors to the hospital should be wary of further changes to this area during this time, particularly the current ED and Waiora Waikato Centre entrance.
“We will temporarily close this entrance at some stage and visitors will be diverted through the new ED entrance.
“An entrance will always remain, and drop off parking across the road, but I recommend that all visitors in a non-emergency situation park in the carpark building.
“From there a shuttle service that can take you anywhere you need to go.”
The new Emergency Department is one part of Waikato DHB’s $300 million Building Programme.
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