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The changing face of Waikato Hospital

Work began on Waikato District Health Board’s $430 million building and redevelopment programme at Waikato and Thames hospitals eight years ago.

While Thames is now complete, the focus shifts to the Waiora Waikato Hospital campus in Hamilton where 75 per cent of the programme is finished.

So what is happening up on the hill at Waikato Hospital and how will it affect you if you visit the hospital?

It was a road and not a building, which was the first project completed at Waikato Hospital four years ago.

That road – this year named Hague Rd after the late Brendan Hague, a key member of the building programme until his death in August 2011 – would allow for easy access by the public and staff to the hospital and other facilities.

It is now the main entry and exit point off Gate 1 on Pembroke St.

The Hamilton City Orbiter bus travels along this road and stops outside the Main Campus Car Park, which opened in July 2008.

The car park provides 800 parks and direct access to the rest of the campus. It is open 24 hours a day and is the primary parking area for the public.

In 2009, the refurbishment of Waikato Hospital’s Delivery Suite was the first upgrade for the delivery suite since its opening in 1979.

The revamped facility, located at level B3 Elizabeth Rothwell Building, provides a much more comfortable birthing environment for women.

The Delivery Suite consists of seven larger and more private birthing rooms with natural light, soundproofing, modern décor and ensuite bathrooms with showers.

Next to the Delivery Suite is the Women’s Assessment Unit for pregnant women not in active labour. The unit is a 24-hour acute and semi-acute service.

The extension of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit finished in February 2009 and increased the footprint of the unit four times with greater patient capacity and more space for staff and visiting family.

Some of the nurseries overlook Hamilton’s Lake Rotoroa, a view enjoyed by parents and family members who often spend long periods in the unit.

Refurbishment of the old NICU created a new reception area and temporary rooms for parents of newborns in the unit.
The building programme then moved into an intensive construction phase. Midland Regional Forensic Centre was the first build in this phase. It opened in August 2010.

The project involved three key stages:

  • Refurbishment of three forensic wards
  • Construction of two new buildings – a Whare and Kokiri Centre with retaining wall
  • A secure main entrance.

Forensic mental health is assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals who are part of the criminal just system and experiencing mental health difficulties.

This type of care, provided in the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre at Waikato Hospital, is where patients can stay for a long time. The facilities must meet their individual and cultural needs.

The refurbished and new facilities allow the forensic service to provide better clinical and cultural care in a safer and more appropriate environment.

The Emergency Department, on the ground floor of the $48 million Acute Services Building, opened in February 2011. Medical Records opened on the lower ground floor.

Construction of levels two and three finished in July last year.

This modern, purpose-built facility has leading edge technology, new equipment, enhanced privacy and security features.
Level two opened in September, has 26 beds, and provides three separate functions:

  •  Acute assessments
  •  Short stay (was Medical Short Stay Unit)
  •  Chest pain unit.

The Pembroke St Car Park, opened in January 2012 and is a five-level building with 218 vehicle spaces and a café. It is opposite the Acute Services Building.

In March this year, after 16 months of construction, the laboratory refurbishment was finished in the Waiora Waikato Centre. During construction, requirement for the laboratory to continue onsite and maintain a 24-hour service, created interesting challenges for both laboratory staff and construction workers.

Departments relocated around the construction, which contractors completed in five stages.

The rebuild allowed room for the recent installation of leading technology automation, designed to streamline processing of biochemical tests. A new laboratory information system is due to go live later this year.
Still to come is the completion and opening of the Meade Clinical Centre in three stages beginning in September this year, the Regional Renal Centre due for completion in November and the Older Persons and Rehabilitation Building, which will open in May next year.

ENDS

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