Hospital’s $4m ward opens
The doors have opened to Waikato Hospital’s newest ward.
It will cost $4 million a year to run, but Ward OPR5, in the Older Persons and Rehabilitation building, will be an important addition.
The new ward opened on Monday and it will help accommodate the region’s increasingly ageing population.
Waikato District Health Board chairman Bob Simcock said demand on the hospital’s services was set to accelerate.
‘‘We don’t get to open new wards very often and it is a really important step forward.
‘‘We all know our population is ageing and as we age, we tend to visit the hospital more than the younger people in our community.
‘‘The demand increases that are coming ahead of us are really, very significant,’’ he said.
OPR5 is Waikato Hospital’s first new ward in five years.
Its 27 beds will cater for geriatric medical and ortho-rehab patients, but Simcock said simply adding more beds won’t solve over-crowding issues.
‘‘The figures we received suggest that if we did nothing more, we’d have to add something like 440 beds in the next 13 years.
‘‘Now, that’s not going to be affordable for the taxpayer, so it’s going to be a mix of beds and a mix of simply becoming more productive,’’ he said.
Clinical director for quality and patient safety Dr Doug Stephenson said the ward was part of a much bigger piece of work.
‘‘The bottom line is we really want people to be at home as long as they possibly can be.
‘‘You see these beds, but what you don’t see is all the work going on to try keep people home.
‘‘But when they do come in, we want to be able to meet their needs. The whole situation needs to be seamless.’’
Stephenson said the work of the DHB has been a team effort.
‘‘It’s been invigorating. It’s good to see people come together for the good of our patients, which is what all this is about.’’
The Older Persons and Rehabilitation building opened in 2013. Ward OPR5 will open on September 4.
Waikato District Health Board chairman Bob Simcock; charge nurse Naomi Knight; clinical nurse director Belinda Macfie; charge nurse Sarah-Mae Glover; charge nurse Aislinn Carr; director of older persons Barbara Garbutt; and clinical director of quality and patient safety Doug Stephenson.