The Press

Up­grade funds go to dis­pute

- Ce­cile Meier ce­cile.meier@stuff.co.nz Business · Health · Christchurch · Chilean Ministry of Health · Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination · Andrew Little

Money set aside to re­fur­bish ‘‘Third World’’ hos­pi­tal wards was taken to set­tle a dis­pute with a con­trac­tor on Christchur­ch’s new hos­pi­tal build­ing.

Doc­u­ments, re­leased un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act af­ter a com­plaint to the Om­buds­man, re­veal the Min­istry of Health reached a $13.8mil­lion set­tle­ment with the head con­trac­tor for the new Waipapa Hos­pi­tal build­ing in Fe­bru­ary last year.

This set­tle­ment was to cover new items not pre­vi­ously in scope, avoid go­ing to court and ac­cel­er­ate the al­ready mas­sively de­layed project.

To pay for the set­tle­ment, the min­is­ters of health and fi­nance in Fe­bru­ary 2019 al­lowed the min­istry to use $13m al­lo­cated un­der a pre­vi­ous bud­get to re­fur­bish cramped, six-bed wards in the Park­side wing that se­nior doc­tors have deemed ‘‘clin­i­cally un­ac­cept­able’’.

Park­side pa­tients face a height­ened risk of in­fec­tious dis­ease as they must share one shower with 10 oth­ers and one toi­let with six pa­tients.

De­spite the re­cent open­ing of the new Waipapa Hos­pi­tal, Park­side wards will still be needed for another 10 years at least, for more than half of all hos­pi­tal pa­tients, be­cause of faster than ex­pected pop­u­la­tion growth.

The doc­u­ments note the trans­fer of funds does not af­fect the over­all bud­get for Christchur­ch Hos­pi­tal’s re­de­vel­op­ment, and fund­ing for Park­side would be sub­ject to a fur­ther bid.

The lat­est busi­ness case for the Park­side build­ing ren­o­va­tions in­cludes com­pli­ance work to en­able le­gal oc­cu­pa­tion for another decade at a cost of $80m, but slashes a pre­vi­ously agreed re­fur­bish­ment bud­get of an undis­closed amount.

The Press un­der­stands that be­tween $10m and $20m is needed for this re­fur­bish­ment, which would be done with the aim of re­duc­ing beds in most Park­side wards from six to four and mak­ing it clin­i­cally ac­cept­able.

A Min­istry of Health spokes­woman, in a writ­ten state­ment, said ad­di­tional fund­ing for Waipapa had not af­fected Park­side.

The $13m pre­vi­ously al­lo­cated to Park­side’s re­fur­bish­ment was from a

‘‘It was a no­tional bud­get set aside for a busi­ness case which is still to be ap­proved.’’ MOH state­ment

2018 busi­ness case. The min­istry had

$20m no­tion­ally set aside for Park­side, not­ing that a de­tailed busi­ness case would con­firm the fund­ing re­quired, she said.

‘‘The min­istry’s use of the $13 mil­lion to ex­pe­dite the de­liv­ery of Waipapa was an in­ter­nal ac­count­ing process given it was a no­tional bud­get set aside for a busi­ness case which is still to be ap­proved.’’

Aus­tralian con­trac­tor CPB started build­ing Waipapa in 2016 with an orig­i­nal bud­get of $455m and an ex­pected com­ple­tion date of July 2018.

How­ever, the Can­ter­bury Dis­trict Health Board only moved in this month. The two-year de­lay cost $20m a year in surgery out­sourc­ing, con­tribut­ing to the health board’s bal­loon­ing deficit.

The new 401-bed fa­cil­ity pro­vides the hos­pi­tal with an ex­tra 35 beds.

The to­tal cost to the Crown was

$525m, which was $70m over its ini­tial bud­get. The ad­di­tional costs in­cluded project de­lays, scope changes (the link bridge and ad­di­tional wards) and

fur­ther re­me­di­a­tion work (pas­sive fire and seis­mic re­straints) iden­ti­fied dur­ing fi­nal checks, a min­istry spokes­woman said.

CPB also has con­tracts for two other de­layed build­ing projects: the Christchur­ch Metro Sports Fa­cil­ity and Te Pae Christchur­ch Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

The Press un­der­stands HealthMin­is­ter An­drew Lit­tle will be meet­ing with the Can­ter­bury DHB chair­per­son in Christchur­ch tomorrow.

The health board’s act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive, An­drew Brant, said it was await­ing the out­come of de­tailed busi­ness cases sub­mit­ted to the Min­istry of Health for tower three of Waipapa and com­pli­ance works in the ex­ist­ing cam­pus, par­tic­u­larly Park­side.

This would in­clude fire safety and seis­mic im­prove­ments.

The board was also li­ais­ing with the min­istry to con­sider what clin­i­cal im­prove­ments to Park­side could prac­ti­cally oc­cur as part of fur­ther work, such as up­grades to wards and the­atres, with a ‘‘strong fo­cus on safe pa­tient care stan­dards and in­fec­tion con­trol’’.

‘‘It should be noted that fund­ing pre­vi­ously set aside was done so no­tion­ally in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a fi­nal de­tailed busi­ness case be­ing de­vel­oped for the re­de­vel­op­ment of Park­side,’’ Brant said.

CPB did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

 ?? STUFF ?? The new Waipapa Hos­pi­tal opened ear­lier this month af­ter mul­ti­ple de­lays.
STUFF The new Waipapa Hos­pi­tal opened ear­lier this month af­ter mul­ti­ple de­lays.

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