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Health Minister opens $67m Whakatane Hospital

Health Minister Tony Ryall today officially opened the $67 million Whakatane Hospital redevelopment which future-proofs health services in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“This is truly one of the best days in my time as Minister of Health and MP for the Bay of Plenty. It is fantastic to see our government’s 2008 election commitment fulfilled on-time and on-budget” says Mr Ryall.

“With a bigger footprint, more hospital beds, and extra services, this new building will ensure the 50,000 people living in the region continue to receive high quality health care for many years to come.

“The new building includes three state-of-the-art operating theatres, a larger emergency department, a modern radiology department, bigger inpatient wards, an acute care unit for patient observations and a 10-bed children’s ward.

“As demand increases there is room to grow. Currently 38 medical and surgical ward beds are open, but there is space for 61 beds in the future.

“Thanks to the input from doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and patients, the building has been designed to improve patient care.

“In the old Stanton Block the emergency department, intensive care unit, CT scanner and radiology department were all located on different floors. These services are now located together.

Mr Ryall says this new building makes it easier for staff to provide better, faster, and more convenient care for patients.

“The Eastern Bay has great health services and very good staff here at the hospital. Both of my children were born here and I am very confident about the future of healthcare in this region under a National Government.

“This government has invested around $1 billion into capital projects for district health boards and we will continue to invest more money to upgrade public hospitals.

“This includes the $83 million revamp at Rotorua Hospital, the new $190 million clinical services block at Middlemore Hospital, the $80 million Taranaki Hospital upgrade and the $27 million East Wing redevelopment at Tauranga Hospital,” says Mr Ryall.

Speech notes

Speech to open $67m Whakatane Hospital redevelopment.

Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to celebrate the opening of this new development with you.

I would like to acknowledge:

  • Minister Anne Tolley
  • Sally Webb and Bay of Plenty DHB board members
  • Council members
  • Members of the Runanga
  • Ron Dunham the CEO of Lakes DHB.

I would also like to acknowledge staff, patients and neighbours.

You were subjected to dust, ever changing places to park cars, changing entrances and having to walk right around the campus – thank you for your patience.

How quickly we forget the inconvenience of the process when we see such a great end result.

It’s been over 90 years since this hospital was opened by the then Minister of Health.

Sir Maui Pomare, one of New Zealand’s first Maori doctors, officially opened Whakatane Hospital in 1923.

The development was hailed as a thoroughly modern hospital – I’m sure they would be in awe of what stands here now.

With a bigger footprint, more hospital beds, and extra services, this new building will ensure the 50,000 people living in the Eastern Bay of Plenty continue to receive high quality health care for many years to come.

It also strengthens the hospital’s capacity to provide elective surgery support to the people of Tauranga.

Patients will now be treated in a facility that meets all building and seismic requirements, and utilises state-of-the-art technology.

The new building includes:

  • three state-of-the-art operating theatres
  • a larger emergency department
  • a modern radiology department
  • bigger inpatient wards
  • an acute care unit for patient observations
  • and a 10-bed children’s ward.

I’m told doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and clinician leaders devoted over 3,000 hours to assist with the design of the building.

This input means staff makes are able to provide better, faster, and more convenient care for patients.

For example, in the old Stanton Block the emergency department, intensive care unit, CT scanner and radiology department were all located on different floors. These services are now located together.

This is not only better for patients as they no longer have to go up and down the stairs – there are huge benefits to have the clinical staff who are treating the same patient working closer together

Patient comfort has also greatly improved.

With only four bathrooms for around 30 patients it wasn’t uncommon for there to be a queue in the old building – there are now ensuites for every double bed room.

Another example of healthcare delivered with more convenience!

This is an impressive structure:

  • 500 doors have been installed
  • 75,000 concrete blocks were laid
  • 300 tonnes of reinforced steel were used
  • 15km of roofing iron was installed – the distance to Ohope and back
  • 2,500m3 of Concrete poured
  • 4000 plants used in the landscaping.

I hear this has been a great source of pride for people who deliver the care and has the tick of approval from the community.

The 2,000 residents who walked through the hospital on its open day is a sign of how this community has embraced this project.

I would like to congratulate everyone who has made this project possible.

The redevelopment means doctors and nurses can now provide the best care to their patients.

I would now like to invite Minister Tolley to join me in unveiling the plaque commemorating this opening.

ENDS

Media contact: Jannel Carter 027 589 8884 or Lyle Skipsey 021 993 701

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