New hospital nears time to open doors

HANDOVER: Fletcher's Chris Goldsbury, left, and Taranaki Base Hospital redevelopment manager Steve Berendsen in one of six new operating theatres officially completed yesterday.
HANDOVER: Fletcher's Chris Goldsbury, left, and Taranaki Base Hospital redevelopment manager Steve Berendsen in one of six new operating theatres officially completed yesterday.

Nursing staff will be the first to see inside Taranaki's new $80 million hospital this week.

Taranaki Base Hospital's new children's and orthopaedic wards have been finished along with six state of the art operating theatres.

To the delight of the hospital's redevelopment manager Steve Berendsen, who has been guiding the process since 2010, yesterday marked the handover of the first stage of the new hospital - on time and on budget.

"It's looking fantastic," he told the Taranaki Daily News.

And with the handover by construction firm Fletcher, the hard work starts for nursing and support staff as they get used to their new surroundings.

"This week we will train the trainers. On Monday next week we will take the first nurses through," Mr Berendsen said.

"It looks great. The nurse-managers [who will be first in the doors] are dying to get to see it," he said.

There will be a giant leap for the nurses who will be learning to use the latest medical technology - all prior to the first patients moving in in the first week of July.

"Hundreds of staff now need to familiarise themselves with the new layout and new equipment," Mr Berendsen says.

Their orientation will include using wireless technology including electronic medical records all held on nurses' laptops, aka Cows (computers on wheels), and a patient-nurse call system. And then there is electronic prescribing on the near horizon.

"The nurses will be able to work from wherever they wish. That's a step into the new world."

The call system allows two-way communication between the patient, who will have a handset, and their nurse, who will carry a mobile phone.

The technology is similar to what is currently being used in the intensive care ward and in the emergency department.

The design process has taken into account evolving models of care and a future increase in bed numbers, Mr Berendsen said.

Despite the increase in technology and efficiencies there will be a slight increase in staff numbers. The main reason for that is because there will be three times as many patient bathrooms in the 30-bed wards.

Every patient room has an ensuite so there will no longer be communal bathrooms.

That would give patients better privacy, he said.

The adult ward will have four four-bed rooms and two bathrooms in addition to 14 single rooms, all with ensuites.

The two wards on each level are of a "racetrack design" so all the patient rooms have windows and work areas are in the centre with access from each side.

On June 8, when an open day is planned, it will be the turn of the public and other hospital staff to have a look.

The remainder of the new block will be handed over to the DHB later next month. In the first week of July, the first patients will move in. The wards of the old Stainton Block are due to be demolished from August 1.

Taranaki Daily News