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.

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