Half-million repair bill for hospital

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:20 25/06/2014

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Wairau Hospital needs more than $500,000 in repairs and improvements, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board says.

It follows design issues in the building that were not done during the $37 million redevelopment of the hospital site two years ago.

The board yesterday agreed to spend $557,000 of unspent capital on the repairs.

The money would go towards improving and extending the hospital's building management system, replacing chillers that stabilised theatre temperatures and moving high-risk electrical distribution boards.

Water valve replacement, installation of roofspace walkway lighting and upgrading the theatre plant room were also on the works scheme.

The board has moved on the spending to ensure mechanical services in the hospital are reliable, to bolster health and safety and to minimise risks of disruption to clinical services.

Two reports commissioned by the property teams in 2012 identified key areas for work.

Around $120,000 would be spent on improvements to the building management system through which maintenance staff control, monitor and adjust chilled water, hot water, compressed air, vacuum, medical gases and electricity supplies to the hospital.

The system was never fully completed during the hospital redevelopment and key utilities, alarm systems and clinical areas were not connected to the system.

General manager of IT and infrastructure Patrick Ng said the improvement would avoid clinical disruption in the event of a mechanical failure.

"Many critical building functions cannot be remotely monitored and do not produce alarms if they go out of specification," Ng said.

"As a result, plant failures cannot be diagnosed and fixed before they have a disruptive effect on the hospital's operations.

"This can result in clinical disruption, for example, to the operating theatres that could be avoided, and in extreme cases may increase risk to patients during medical and clinical procedures."

Around $300,000 would be used on chiller replacement. The plant provides chilled water to the ventilation system throughout the hospital to keep theatre temperatures within specification.

The original chillers have proved unreliable with constant partial failure of four of the 12.

Two major electrical distribution boards and two uninterruptable power supplies located in the basement of the Arthur Wicks building near several major water pipes would be moved up a floor at a cost of $103,000.

The board had been concerned that, in the event of an earthquake, a major pipe leak might cut off power to most of the hospital, including critical areas like the high dependency unit, emergency department and radiology.

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Failing water valves on the hot water supply loop would be replaced and lighting would be installed in the roof space walkway to step up health and safety for maintenance workers.

Nearly $14,000 has been set aside for an upgrade to the theatre plant room which supplies and controls hot water to the air conditioning that serves theatres 1 and 2, the theatre sterilisation unit, stores, tea room office and reception.

A mechanical failure would close the operating theatres. The upgrade would include a built-in back-up for the plant room so that a plant failure could be repaired while the theatres stayed working.

- The Marlborough Express

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