Project Office Blog

New Endoscopy Unit Work Begins

The Whangarei Hospital endoscopy service currently operates from two separate locations; one in the theatre complex and the second in the medical outpatient zone. The service is to be relocated and consolidated to provide a more streamlined service for both acute and elective endoscopy procedures. A new unit is to be built in the old […]

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Northland DHB Hospital Redevelopment Private: Site Master Plan

Project History

After the original hospital was built in 1901, development on the campus continued steadily until the late 1920s, and most of this occurred in an around the old hospital.   There was a lull during the Depression years, then a further period of steady growth in the 40s and 50s. It has only been since the 1960s, however, that much of what we regard as today’s hospital took shape.

Phase 1 was erected on the area occupied by the TB and outpatient clinics, causing most of these buildings to be either demolished or relocated.   The nearer wing in this photo was the main ward block. The structure on the roof was for a time a TB shelter. The other wing, now the central services block of the hospital, housed the operating theatres and clinical support services such as laboratory, radiology and physiotherapy. Clive Lambert, medical superintendent through the 1950s, oversaw the planning for phase 1, but he died before the building was completed. Medical superintendent at the time of the opening in October 1962 was Clive Garlick.

After Phase 1 was completed, this corridor to link it to the remaining older buildings further up Hospital Road was added.Phase 2, here seen under construction, was opened in April 1977.

34a --- aerial, corridor, phase 2 under construction

The old Ward 5 men’s surgical ward had to be removed from the hospital site, along with other old wooden buildings. The concrete pad parallel with the central services block today houses occupational therapy, the staff library and the quality unit.In contrast to the wards in Phase 1, with their design of a central corridor and rooms off either side, the Phase 2 wards used what is known as a ‘racetrack’ layout, with rooms surrounding a centrally located nursing station.

During the 1990s, reorganisation of the hospital’s wards saw phase 1 become the ‘surgical wing’ and phase 2 the ‘medical wing’. The surgical wing contains wards 1 to 5, and the medical wing includes medical outpatients and wards 11 to 16. What remained of the old wards was renumbered 6 to 10.

Along with Phase 2, the hospital developed other new facilities. A new delivery suite was opened, signalling the closure of the old Maternity Annexe which had served the hospital for about 60 years.

34b --- aerial re phases 1 & 2

After many years of planning and debate with the Department of Health, 1992 saw the official opening of the hospital’s new mental health inpatient unit. This replaced the former wards 6 and 7, which had evolved from the original 1901 hospital. These were sold into private hands and moved off site.

36 --- psych wards being moved

The phase 2 era also involved the construction of a new kitchen and cafeteria. This eventually brought together 2 separate kitchens, the old so called ‘top’ kitchen and the one in the nurses home.

As well as providing a more spacious and modern environment, the cafeteria also created a common space for staff to meet over a cuppa, ending decades of segregation between different groups of professional staff.

Belinda 01 --- cafeteria interior

The chapel was constructed during 1962 using money raised in the community, most of which came through a radio appeal. Many former staff have become married in the chapel, the first such ceremony taking place in July 1963.

This $11m unit was opened in 1991 and provided Whangarei Hospital with a modern and spacious 6 theatre facility. It replaced the cramped and outdated theatres on level 4 of the central services wing which had served the hospital since phase 1 was built. It is interesting to note that the first operating theatres served the hospital for about 60 years before they were replaced, the phase 1 theatres lasted 20 years, and the modern theatre unit barely 10 years before its current reconfiguration was begun.

During the late 80s and early 90s, Whangarei Hospital undertook a major refit of all its wards, creating a more modern, patient friendly feel. This involved some changes to the layout of the surgical wing wards, as well as a total refit of furnishings and colour schemes. To meet legislative requirements, the refit also involved removal of asbestos from Phase 1, apparently the largest such operation in the country, and installation of sprinklers.

The hospital’s centenary coincided with a major $13m structural reconfiguration, aimed at creating a more user friendly and efficient working environment.