Hospital ‘needs’ $150M upgrade

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Patient numbers at Nelson Hospital have more than doubled in the last 20 years, and are one of the reasons for a proposed $120m – $150m redevelopment of the premises.

Recent figures released by the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board reveal that the hospital saw 123,086 patients through its doors last year, up from 90,644 patients in 2006 and 47,287 patients in 1996.

NMDHB proposes to spend $1.2 million and two years planning the project, and building could start as early as 2020.

It is not the only hospital in the region getting a makeover, with the $25 million expansion of Manuka St Hospital starting earlier this year.

Peter Bramley, chief executive of the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, says there are several reasons for the proposed redevelopment, including increasing demands on hospital services due to the region’s aging and growing population, the need for more hospital beds and improving the buildings earthquake standards.

“Two hospital buildings, each more than 40 years old, have been assessed as earthquake prone in the definition that, while they will stay standing in the advent of a major earthquake, they would be unfit for use afterwards,” he says.

Having the right facilities for new models of care and specialties is also another factor.

Peter says the planning process will consist of several business cases – as required by central government – to cover strategic, commercial and financial consideration.

All options would be considered including re-developing the existing Waimea Rd site or building new facilities on a different site, but at this stage, there is no preferred option.

“We hope to complete the business cases by the end of 2018 and start building by 2020,” he says.

“From the start date, we hope to complete construction work within two or three years.”

He says they have completed the first business case, a strategic assessment, and the next three business cases will be written in partnership with expert agencies.

Over the last 20 years there have been several redevelopments at Nelson Hospital, including the refurbishments of emergency department, theatre, in-patient, and day-stay and radiology facilities.

The last major work was completed in 2003 and included the new in-patient building with a 14-bed maternity unit, 30-bed medical unit, 12-bed paediatrics in-patient unit, chapel and cafe, at a cost of $35.5m. Further planned redevelopment in 2010 did not go ahead due to costs.