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Health Project Builds for the Future

Northern Advocate – 15 May 2017 The Mid North’s biggest health infrastructure project in decades, a rebuild of Bay of Islands Hospital at Kawakawa – and construction of a new medical centre – is officially under way. It’s not just the scale of the project that sets it apart; it is also unusual in that […]

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Northland DHB Hospital Redevelopment Health Project Builds for the Future

Health Project Builds for the Future

Northern Advocate – 15 May 2017

The Mid North’s biggest health infrastructure project in decades, a rebuild of Bay of Islands Hospital at Kawakawa – and construction of a new medical centre – is officially under way.

It’s not just the scale of the project that sets it apart; it is also unusual in that it involves the Northland District Health Board and Ngāti Hine Health Trust pooling resources to create a “one-stop shop”.

The DHB is spending $9.9 million on a two-storey building with an accident and medical department, radiology and after-hours GP service on the ground floor and a 20-bed medical ward upstairs.  Part of the rundown Bay of Islands Hospital complex has been demolished to make way for the new building.

Adjoining the hospital, the trust will build an $8m “integrated whānau wellness centre” called Te Hauora o Pukepuke Rau, which will bring together the three GP practices in Kwakawa and Moerewa, community health, outpatient services, a pharmacy, dental surgery, telemedicine and holistic healing.

Both the new hospital and the wellness centre will be accessed via thte entrance to Te Hauora o Pukepuke Rau.

The project has been debated for years but on Friday the site was blessed and the first sod turned by health board chairwoman Sally Macauley and trust chairwoman Gwen Tepania-Palmer.  They used a 100-year old spade from Dargaville Museum, a nod to the site’s beginnings as a 12-bed hospital in 1911.

About 100 people attended including medical staff, chaplains, college students, kuia and kaumatua.  Work starts this month and the complex is due to open in June 2018.

Clinical head Nigel Can said there had been much discussion about whether the hospital should be redeveloped on the current site or elsewhere.  “but we came to the conclusion that this is where it should be and now we all need to get behind it.  A hospital linked to the primary health care centre was the way of the future”, he added.

Mrs Tepania-Palmer said the combined facility would offer the best care for all people of the Mid North.  Te Hauora o Pukepuke Rau was by far the health trust’s biggest investment to date, easily eclipsing Te Mirumiru early childcare centre in 2012.

GP Graeme Fenton, who has clocked up 50 years as a doctor in Moerewa, said Ngāti Hine had given the three solo GP practices in Kawakawa and Moerewa a way to come together, safe-guarding the future of primary healthcare in the area.  “We’re all working very closely together now.  Without Ngāti Hine this wouldn’t have happened” he said.

If you have any questions please email debbie.rihari@northlanddhb.org.nz

For more information about Te Hauora O Pukepuke Rau Integrated Whanau Wellness Centre, visit www.nhht.co.nz