Home hospital goes hi-tech

30 years since hospital began as cottage unit

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014
hospital
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

FROM HOME TO HIGH-TECH: When managing director Richard Grenfell opened Boulcott Hospital, it was a cottage. He could never have imagined what his vision would become 30 years later.

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It's hard to believe that Lower Hutt's modern hi-tech Boulcott Hospital began life as a day unit in a quaint, art deco-style cottage.

It is now Boulcott's 30th year in business, and managing director Richard Grenfell has been there since the beginning.

"A few other surgeons and myself were involved in its initial concept. It was then being rented by the Argentinian ambassador, but the Muldoon government kicked him out because of the Falklands war. That was back in 1984 and it's been an exciting ride."

Grenfell was previously working as a specialist anaesthetist at Hutt Hospital but was interested in private work so, when the property came on the market, he saw the potential.

"We saw it as an opportunity for the Hutt Valley. In those days all the private surgery was done in Wellington at Bowen. The surgeons had to drive there on a daily basis, as well as the patients, and this changed that."

Grenfell says the hospital has undergone major developments in its past 30 years – including the addition of a specialist consulting centre, containing a Pacific Radiology branch, a new block with inpatient beds and three hi-tech theatres.

"It was a huge milestone. It meant Boulcott had reached maturity and we were as good as any other private hospital. I got a lot of pleasure out of that and a real sense of pride."

New developments will not stop any time soon, he says. "We are looking at expanding again by building two new theatres, room for more beds, a high-dependency unit and endoscopy suite.

"Hopefully that will start mid-way through the year. We are applying for resource consent now and hopefully by November 2015 it will be complete."

Grenfell says 30 years ago he would never have imagined the little cottage would become what it is today. "Not at all. When we first started, I thought it would remain a free-standing day unit. We might have put new consulting rooms in, but had no idea it would become this. It's been a marvellous ride, and I wouldn't change it for anything."

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