11 Jun 2020

Counties Manukau DHB gets $211m to improve hospital facilities

5:36 pm on 11 June 2020

After a review revealed the poor conditions of the country's operating theatres, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced support for Counties Manukau DHB.

Watch the PM making the announcement here:

At the Manukau Super Clinic today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced $211 million - allocated from the past two government Budgets - was headed to the DHB to build hospital operating theatres and improve other facilities in South Auckland.

It followed a stocktake of the country's hospitals released yesterday that revealed many intensive care units, operating theatres and emergency departments were in "poor or very poor" shape.

Counties Manukau DHB said the money would mainly be used to build four operating theatres, to increase CT and MRI scanning, and for kidney, breast and eye services.

Much of that will be at its Manukau Health Park which focuses mostly on elective and outpatient work.

The DHB's chair, Vui Mark Gosche, said the funding and the work was about helping to level the playing field for South Aucklanders who often had to wait too long for care.

"If you are on the other side of the Tamaki River or the Manukau Harbour you might get in to see the clinicians earlier than you would here," he said.

Although the funding was welcome, he said, there was a lot more needed.

"We have got some more business cases that we'll be working on ... we've got some pretty antiquated properties that deal with spinal and rehab," he said

He hoped the new facilities - mostly for elective and outpatient care - would free up space in the jam-packed Middlemore Hospital to make room for those with serious illnesses.

A separate assessment of other hospital facilities also revealed problems with earthquake risks, ageing services infrastructure, asbestos and fire separation.

The stocktake of hospital facilities was sparked by Middlemore Hospital's infrastructure woes revealed by RNZ in 2018.

Middlemore Hospital has been dealing with long waiting lists and cramped facilities, made worse by the pressures of the Whakaari/White Island eruption and Covid-19.

Minister of Health David Clark said more was needed to truly give South Aucklanders a fair deal in health.

"This investment is part of an ongoing programme given the large amount of work that is needed to upgrade and remediate facilities here," he said.

Dr Clark said it was too early to say what this year's money would be specifically used for.

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