Today, Stage One of the $14m Bay of Islands Hospital redevelopment was officially opened by Health Minister Rt Hon Dr David Clark.
Kaumātua and Kuia officiated the site blessing ceremony at dawn to pave the way for the official ceremony at 10am.
Stage One started in 2015 with the demolition of older buildings, re-routing and the replacing of core infrastructure services.
“We have faced a number of challenges along the way as might be expected when working with such old buildings,” noted chief executive, Dr Nick Chamberlain.
“Having been built in the 1940-70’s it was expected to find lead paint and asbestos when we started demolition of old buildings and we did.
“We also discovered previous works unmarked on plans - for example, we unearthed a shower block and some concrete pits we didn’t know about.”
Geotechnical testing of what was a historical coal mining town also had its challenges (rest assured there was no mining under the Bay of Islands Hospital site), as did the compliance requirements such as resource and building consents being issued.
Unfortunately Ngāti Hine Health Trust had to withdraw from the project after putting so much work into it, because of soaring building costs.
“By then we had already completed design, enabling works and signed contracts to build so with some modifications we pressed on with the build while redrafting a more cost effective design.”
These issues and inclement weather has impacted on the final completion date.
“Everyone has worked really hard to reduce the impact of things beyond our control however we have a slight delay while we get the new patient monitoring system in and complete staff training. We expect to be moving into the new facility by early November.”
The new twenty-bed Medical Ward has been built above the new Accident and Medical department as a two-storey building, enabling the relocation of the current General Ward, with access via lift and stairs.
The new expanded Accident and Medical level consists of a suite of rooms including;
The Hugo Charitable Trust has donated $200,000 which is going towards the construction of a new Whānau House and has assisted in the purchase of clinical equipment and a new telehealth solution that will be available within the Accident and Medical department.
“I would like to acknowledge the community, staff and the contractors who made sure that the hospital remained operational throughout construction.
“It is always disruptive working around a ‘live’ construction site – the dust, noise, vibrations, power, water and wastewater issues – however, everyone has taken it in their stride,” Dr Chamberlain acknowledged.
Local Service Clubs and individuals have fundraised to provide eight new Romeo Recliner chairs for patients visitors and a series of photos have been gifted by staff and community members creating a sense of place that showcases the unique and beautiful Mid North.
The humble beginnings of the Bay of Islands Hospital began 106 years ago in 1911 with the formation of The Bay of Islands Hospital and Charitable Aid Board and a seeding fund of £150.
The final cost of building the hospital was £1,836. This money came from government subsidy and subscriptions of £562.
The official opening of the Bay of Islands Hospital was on the 17 January 1913, by MP Vernon H. Reed.
In 2009, after extensive community involvement, Northland DHB made a long term commitment to the Mid North. This included: