Queries over hospital

Too much secrecy

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014
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An artist's impression of the finished entranceway at Taranaki Base Hospital.

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Re-strengthening of the newly built entranceway linking the old and new hospital at Taranaki Base Hospital is undeway.

But questions asked by the Taranaki Daily News on the reasons and the costs have gone unanswered by Taranaki District Health Board chief executive Tony Foulkes.

The lack of transparency has been criticised by health activist Jenny Nager, a former board member.

There was too much secrecy surrounding what was happening with the new building, Nager said.

It is believed that the full board met behind closed doors on May 1 when the members were given an update on Project Maunga's progress.

This undoubtedly included information about the reinforcement of the entranceway.

Nevertheless the link corridor building - the last stage of the $80m new hospital - is expected to be ready for the official opening on June 27.

The Daily News has become aware of several issues involving the build. These include unconfirmed reports of sloping floors, water leaks affecting electrical circuitry and cracks in new concrete.

The paper submitted written questions through the board's media adviser, Sue Carrington, concerning earthquake standards, any remedial work necessary and the cost.

The response from Foulkes did not specifically address the questions, but noted that the completed building was the strongest in Taranaki.

The new wards and theatres were now operational and came in on time and on budget, he said.

The entrance and link corridor was being completed and would be "ready and looking great" in time for the official opening on June 27, Foulkes said.

"It's great that all patients, staff and visitors in Taranaki can be confident that we have a new modern building built to the latest earthquake standards.

"Patients continue to be cared for in the new wards and theatre block and all feedback so far has been fantastic.

"Staff were enjoying their new working space and patients were very appreciative of the quiet environment while they recover."

In the health board's online report on Project Maunga, a carefully worked statement does talk of an upgrade of the link corridor.

The report states that the link corridors did not need to be reinforced to the same level as buildings occupied by patients.

"Some extra steps will therefore be taken in the next few months to further reinforce some areas in the link," the report said.

The work would be done with minimum impact on the operation of the hospital and would be largely invisible, the report said.

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To ensure there is little disruption to staff and patients, the temporary links will remain functional until the work is complete.

Project Maunga manager Ian Grant referred all questions to Carrington.

- Taranaki Daily News

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