6 Jun 2018

Middlemore Hospital on track to meet winter demand

8:48 am on 6 June 2018

Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland says it is on track to cope with an expected winter rush though it won't open any new beds until July.

The Galbraith building at Middlemore Hospital.

The Galbraith building at Middlemore Hospital. Photo: RNZ

Previous internal reports show Middlemore had been aiming to have a renovated ward open "in time for winter".

The Counties Manukau DHB has been turning offices into a 30-bed ward on the fifth floor of the earthquake-prone Galbraith building.

The hospital was going through usual budget processes to get a sign-off in July for extra staffing for the ward, a hospital director Margie Apa said.

Once this happened, the DHB could then look at its plan to open other extra beds at the Manukau Superclinic and Pukekohe Hospital, she said.

However, recruiting staff could be an issue, she added.

An internal DHB report in late 2017 said it was urgent to expand key services to meet peak winter demand this year.

"Winter 2017 challenged CM Health's hospital services with unprecedented levels of demand. Presentation volumes were the highest ever recorded, and were of a level of increased acuity and complexity," the report said.

"This demand stretched CM Health's ability to provide an adequate and safe level of care for the population, and placed an unsustainable level of pressure on frontline workforces."

The $200,000 renovation has been going on at Galbraith since earlier this year even though it is only up to 20 percent of earthquake standards for a building of its type and location.

Ms Apa said the winter might be milder than forecast so that could mean there was less demand than predicted.

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