Health boss calls for new city hos­pi­tal

Central Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - EMILY FORD

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.

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