Overdue Greymouth hospital expected to open soon

10:59 am on 8 February 2020

Work will start this month on the transition process to open Te Nikau Grey Hospital and Health Centre in Greymouth, a project that is now two years overdue.


Te Nikau Grey Hospital and Health Centre, during construction. Photo: Supplied.

Concerns have been mounting over the ongoing cost and growing risks caused by the facility's delay, including the use of outdated x-ray equipment.

West Coast District Health Board chairman Rick Barker says he and deputy chairman Tony Kokshoorn have met with a Fletchers senior manager to relay the board's disappointment about the delay in finishing the new facility.

"Tony and I were mindful the contract for the build of Te Nikau Health Grey Hospital and Health Centre is between Fletchers and the Ministry of Health, but we as the West Coast District Health Board had a strong interest in the progress."

The meeting was constructive, he said.

"Fletchers assured Tony and I they were on track to commence the transition by the middle of February."

The board and Coasters will welcome the announcement of a date to start the process - "the beginning of the end", Barker said.

He expects the transition, handover and commission to take "quite a few weeks", as it will be "no small process."

Kokshoorn said after touring Te Nikau with several board members last week, he felt the hospital was ready for business.

The new hospital being built in Greymouth.

The new hospital being built in Greymouth. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

"The power and the hot water is on; the furnaces are heating the hospital - it's basically ready to go," Kokshoorn said.

"There are defects and variations still to be rectified but these are mostly minor and can be completed in conjunction with a planned migration from the old building to start moving staff and patients step by step.

"There is a migration plan in place; Fletchers now have it, and there's no reason we can't start the process next week."

The company told the DHB leaders minor non-essential defects should not delay the transition, and they are prepared to work on resolving all issues quickly and efficiently, Barker said.

"I think it's fair to say any party commissioning a new build will have a list of 'must have completed' by the builder before they commence a handover process. This is a matter for the Ministry of Health."

Construction of the new hospital, next to the current Grey Base Hospital, began in May 2016, with a planned cost of $67 million.

The Ministry of Health says the new hospital will cost $77.8 million, and provide 56 in-patient beds, three operating theatres, an integrated family health centre, maternity services and a 24/7 emergency department.

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