Expansion aims for better service

MONICA TISCHLER
Last updated 05:00 28/03/2014
Coronary Care
BETTER SERVICE: Waitemata District Health Board acting chief medical officer Jonathan Christiansen.

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A $9.8 million expansion of Waitakere Hospital's emergency department will see fewer patients treated in "cramped" and "inadequate" environments.

The department will be expanded by 1313 square metres, creating extra capacity to meet the needs of West Auckland patients.

Waitemata District Health Board acting chief medical officer Jonathan Christiansen says the department wasn't built to cater for the growing number of patients through its doors today.

"During busy times, patients are treated in corridors and adults and children have to share the same waiting room which sometimes isn't appropriate because people can come in drunk."

"It's cramped and inadequate and we must do something about that," he says.

The department first opened in 2005 and more than 17,000 patients were treated in its first year.

Over eight years, the number of patients through its doors has increased substantially with almost 44,000 patients seen last year.

The increase is the largest of any emergency department in the country.

Developments include the addition of 19 cubicles, four new rooms as well as new patient and whanau facilities, for better patient privacy.

A new front-of-house zone will include an improved patient entranceway, reception and four new ambulance bays.

Developments will also see a new paediatric zone to enable greater utilisation of bed spaces and clinical resources while adult emergency department admission cubicles will increase from nine to 23.

A new corridor will also be built to connect the emergency department front-of-house and ambulance bays with the main hospital, providing a more efficient route to the in-patient wards for ambulance transfers.

Health board chief executive Dale Bramley says, "The fit-for-purpose emergency department will ensure we can continue to provide high-quality round-the-clock care from an advanced facility that will serve the people of West Auckland well into the future," he says.

More than 90 full-time staff including senior and registered nurses, health care assistants and medical officers work in the department.

Dr Christiansen says the health board will look to employ more staff in the future although it's not an immediate concern given the department's current wait time turnaround.

Ninety-six per cent of patients in the department are admitted into hospital, discharged or transferred from the ward within six hours - above the National Health Board target of 95 per cent.

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Design work starts this month with construction to start in September and completion expected by December 2015.

- Western Leader

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