22 May 2020

Canterbury DHB asked for $400m for new building

From Morning Report, 7:51 am on 22 May 2020

The Canterbury DHB has revealed it asked for $438 million to rebuild its terribly overcrowded and rundown hospital - but had no choice but to settle for a third of that.

The chair Sir John Hansen says he was put in the invidious position of telling the board to accept a 'sub-optimal' replacement. The $150 million on the table is only enough to build a five storey tower and fit out two floors - so three will be empty shells.

The board's resolution goes to the Government's Capital Investment Committee on Monday, for approval.

This puts an end to a three-year fight by the DHBs' top doctors for a six storey fully-fitted Tower 3, and an early start on Tower 4 with more wards and surgical theatres.

Sir John told our reporter Phil Pennington he understands angst over the building. He says he felt it too when he got this message from the government's Capital Investment Committee about the bid for $400 million.

Sir John says they hope to have funding to fit out the three empty floors of Tower 3 once it's built.

He says a working group has already started looking at how to meet patient demands with a truncated Tower 3, no Tower 4, and beds having to remain in the rundown Parkside and Riverside blocks.