Health boss calls for new city hospital
A new major hospital is needed to keep up with the health service demands of Auckland’s growing population, a health board boss says.
Counties Manukau Health acting chief executive Gloria Johnson made the suggestion at a July hospital advisory committee meeting in response to the winter rush at the region’s hospitals.
‘‘It’s happening right across metro Auckland, not only to us, and it’s very concerning,’’ Johnson said.
‘‘Clearly there would have to be one additional major hospital built - or even two.’’
All major hospitals in Auckland have asked patients to stay away if their matter is nonurgent, with Auckland City Hospital and Middlemore Hospital at capacity and North Shore Hospital and Waitakere Hospital near capacity.
Middlemore Hospital reached 95 per cent capacity for more than 220 days in the past year, hospital services director Phillip Balmer said, reaching 105 per cent occupancy for 142 of those.
A lot of the spike is put down to predicted winter illnesses, but also a growing population to cater for.
Balmer said there’s a pattern of ‘‘Mondayitis’’ - with people waiting until the end of the week- end before deciding they’re too sick to go to work and end up going to hospital.
It’s created real pressure on the hospital and staff were doing what they can to ensure beds are ready quickly, as well as cancelling some elective surgeries, he said.
‘‘We’ve been busy, but if they keep knocking on our front door we have a responsibility to look after them.
‘‘We’re doing all we can to increase the medical staff on the ground. It’s fair to say we’re doing all we can to respond to the pressure.’’
Lester Levy is the chairman of the three Auckland DHBs. Auckland’s three district health boards care for a population of about 1.6 million people.
The three boards were brought under one chair to help facilitate Auckland’s health services as the region grows.
Other long term plans discussed at the Counties Manukau DHB committee meeting included new buildings and utilising wards in existing buildings. The board is also working with Waitemata and Auckland DHBs on regional plans to find short and long term solutions for the population.