Prime Minister John Key (pictured right) opened Waiora Waikato Hospital’s new $130m Meade Clinical Centre this morning.
Mr Key and Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew were among the 100-strong crowd of hospital staff and dignitaries to attend this morning’s blessing and opening ceremony.
The Meade Clinical Centre is the most significant part of Waikato District Health Board’s $430m building and service redevelopment programme, and the five-level, 39,000m2 building is the biggest hospital project ever seen in Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
The outpatient area alone is 11,340m2 (or approximately one-and-a-half rugby fields) and has more than 100 rooms.
Mr Key called the facility “world class” and said it would enable the care patients receive there to be of the same standard.
The Meade Clinical Centre honours a man who played a central role in Waikato Hospital’s transformation from a general cottage hospital into a modern specialist institution.
The building was named after Dr John Anthony Meade who began his service to Waikato Hospital as assistant superintendant in 1953 and retired 27 years later as superintendant-in-chief having transformed the site into a major tertiary referral centre.
Dr Meade died in December 1999, aged 84 – however his children Joanna Taylor, John, Liz Russell, Richard and Caroline attended today’s ceremony in honour of their late father. Their mother Annette, who lives in Auckland, could not be present.
“This is a marvellous tribute to our father,” said Mrs Taylor.
“We have taken great interest and pride in the fact that our father has been honoured in this way.”
The Meade Clinical Centre brings some 30 clinics together; including Dermatology, Neurology and Plastics, which are among the first clinics to open on Monday 10 September, creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ for patients and visitors to outpatient appointments.
The building is being opened in three stages with theatres and interventional suites (such as Radiology) and a new Critical Care Unit comprising the Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit, all scheduled for opening by April 2014.
Mr Key acknowledged the work of the hundreds of staff who have taken the building from concept to reality, as well as wishing the 400-plus staff who will work in the facility his best wishes for Monday when the first clinics open.
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