MEDIA RELEASES

100 Tonnes in One Month – Hospital’s Record Laundry Load

Winter is always a busy season for Northland’s four hospitals. At Whangarei Hospital, this was reflected in the largest-ever volume of laundry processed by the hard workers in the laundry department.

Whangarei Hospital’s laundry handles work for Dargaville, Kaitaia and Bay of Islands Hospitals as well as many private organisations including sports clubs, clinics, St John Ambulance and marae.

Commercial Services Manager Deb Borovich said the incredible 102,370 kgs of laundry washed onsite at Whangarei in August alone was an all-time record. That 102 tonnes was the peak workload for winter 2016.

May saw 94,629 kgs of laundry processed, June 91,999 kgs, while July created 83,825 kgs of laundry – vast workloads even considering the laundry’s industrial washers can handle up to 180kgs of laundry at a time.

“Winter coming into spring always trends high numbers of patients,” Deb explained, “But all Northland hospitals were at maximum capacity for part of this month.” 

The astonishing laundry loads are even more impressive considering the laundry only operates five days per week and Northland DHB laundry has just 14 workers to cover the usual 21 working days per month.

To put this into perspective using domestic equivalents;

  • if using the largest home washing machine (10kg) this would mean 512 loads were washed every working day in August
  • one sheet weighs .9 kg and the longest edge of each sheet is 2.75m. If each single home washing machine load was packed only with sheets, meaning 11 sheets totalling 30.25m of edge, 512 loads of sheets lain end to end would reach 15.48 kilometres – the distance from Hikurangi to Whangarei CBD.

Now that the August bump has been ‘ironed out,’ there is no time for the busy laundry team to rest. “There’s no break, it carries on,” Deb said.  “We have an awesome crew. I’m very lucky.”

“The laundry team often doesn’t get the acknowledgement. People think [laundry] is just something that gets done unseen.”

Integrated Operations and Emergency Manager Mark Goodman said Whangarei Hospital was at near capacity late in August.

“Whangarei Hospital managed through the best use of Dargaville, Kaitaia and Bay of Islands Hospitals as well as increased treatment and review of patients at weekends.

“The peak of the influenza season is yet to strike so hospitals expect continuing high levels of presentations and occupancy.”

Mark said the significant rise in presentations and occupancy through the winter period is seen every year and can continue until October.

“This year Hospitals have continued to see a rise in presentations with up to 140 presentations per day in the Emergency Department.”


Pictured left to right are Commercial Services Manager Deb Borovich with laundry staff Kasey Hoeta, Lorraine Howson and Shane Trow.
(Photo – Mike Botur)



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