Hospital plan case approved by DHB

The multimillion-dollar Palmerston North Hospital redevelopment project is one step closer.

MidCentral District Health Board's indicative business case for the hospital plans was approved by majority vote at the board's meeting in Dannevirke yesterday.

The case, set to be presented to the regional Capital Investment Committee next month, details three different options ranging from a $98.5 million partial new build and refurbishment to a $146m option, which would also include a new wards building and new main entry to the acute facility.

MidCentral investment and planning executive director Helene Carbonatto said the preferred option, costing $105.7m, would include a new build to address seismic-strengthening and capacity issues, and a refurbishment.

"The preferred option is a medium brownfield build to address the collection of issues facing MDHB. The proposal is to build a hot floor of theatres, procedure rooms, a critical care unit, cardiology interventional services, sterile support unit, emergency department, emergency radiology and telephony," Carbonatto said.

"Other services requiring refurbishment will be planned in decanted space."

The plans would cater for the hospital needs for the next 10 to 20 years, she said.

MidCentral planning and support general manager Mike Grant said the DHB was going into the project in an extremely positive financial situation.

The preferred option included the cost of a new build at $8000 per square metre, Carbonatto said.

"The indicative business case commits to a self-funded facility build . . . and this is the financial model that has been built into our affordability," she said.

"We also believe that this financial model is likely to be better supported by Capital Investment Committee than a mix of self fund and debt."

Board member Kate Joblin raised concerns at yesterday's meeting over the possibility of escalating costs.

"The costs are going to skyrocket and we need to add conversation about debt because surpluses get squeezed."

Board member Karen Naylor opposed the approval of the business case, saying the plans needed more consultation.

Board member Barbara Anderson said the people involved needed to be congratulated.

"It's going to be exciting to watch it as it grows through the next stages."

Following yesterday's meeting and after approval from the Ministry of Health and the Treasury, and feedback from the Whanganui District Health Board, the business case will go to the regional Capital Investment Committee next month.

It is due to go to the national Capital Investment Committee in October, with approval expected by the end of the year.

MidCentral would then move into the detailed business case phase, which could take about nine months, Grant said.

Manawatu Standard